UNI Global Union General Secretary Christy Hoffman used her interview with Richard Quest on CNN to urge Davos leaders to look to unions for solutions to the problems the world is facing.
Hoffman told presenter Richard Quest that the Davos elite were big on risks but short on answers.
She said that the Labour leaders in Davos came with a plan – Social Contract 4.0, referring to the importance of collective bargaining and freedom of association in the 21st century world of work.
She said the labour movement was in Davos to say workers of the world need a new deal where they can share in the world’s increasing prosperity, pointing out that the latest figures show no real wage increases for workers in Western Europe. The Oxfam Report out this week confirmed growing inequality with the richest 26 billionaires earning the wealth of the bottom 50%. That wealth was in the hands of 43 billionaires last year, indicating inequality was still spiralling downwards.
Hoffman said with such levels of inequality people in France, the UK, the United States and elsewhere, had good reason to protest.
On the issue of whether unions and organising mass protest were still relevant, Hoffman said union membership was holding even in the United States, despite a recent Supreme Court ruling expected to adversely affect unions. The UNI GS gave two examples of where protest was having an impact – the mass teacher strike in Los Angeles, supported by sympathy strikes throughout California and the Google global walkout in which 20,000 workers left their offices and took to the streets in a single day.
Hoffman concluded her interview with Quest by saying it wasn’t enough to be angry about injustice and inequality, it was necessary to have hope and a strategy to combat them, and that was why unions remained relevant and strong.