The trade-union teams of a company, a branch or a territory, are confronted daily with the stakes in globalization. It is the case when, because of the saturation of the mobile telephony market in Europe, Mitsubishi closes its unity of Vitré to become established in China; when to increase its profitability, Marks and Spencer closes 18 shops in France; when, to decrease high production costs Dim decides to close its French sites to become established in Eastern Europe. When confronted with these accelerated reorganizations, union activists have difficulty in perceiving the benefactions that globalization has on economic growth. They get organized then directly by creating trade-union networks.
The changing environment of the world requires new approaches and strategies on the part of unions if they are to remain major social actors contributing to dynamic and equitable growth. According to a report by the International Labor Organization (ILO), globalization, which brings formidable challenges to unions, also provides them with opportunities to play a far more effective and politically important role in society.
[...] The challenge is to find a balance between direct and indirect measures to help workers (labor market programs, unemployment benefits The challenges to take up for trade unions to institute a social globalization There is certainly a vigorous and inconclusive debate about the limits of what constitutes globalization. But in the reactions to current trends international labor organizations tend to regard globalization as more of a threat than a challenge. But it is essential to note the particular place occupied by trade unions in the debate. [...]
[...] Among these unions, the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), traditional relay of the international communism, accompanies this ideology in its decline today. It was created after the second World War in 1945, recruiting its members in the CGT (‘French and Italian essentially). Today, it recruits mainly in the power plants of certain progressive countries of the Third World. The International Confederation of free Trade Unions (ICFTU) arises from the will of the United States, with the AFL-CIO, to give more organization to the workers, especially in countries threatened by the communist trade-union hegemony. [...]
[...] In fact the real impact of globalization varies according to the capacity of trade unions to mobilize their power resources. Because the outlines of its power are in alteration in this new globalized context, the trade-union actor is called to see again its sources of power (as explained in the graph below) to update them and renew them. So nowadays, in a context of globalization, labor unions are essential, “needed more than ever” to counterbalance centrifugal forces created by globalization and technological change” (John Evans, OECD). [...]
[...] In the words of Mia de Vits, general secretary of FGTB, the Belgian trade union federation “globalization is a reality that can be controlled and not a catastrophe to curse.” Even though, trade unions of each country are divided on the strategies to adopt, let us take for instance French trade unions: they all affirm that globalization is inevitable but they don't agree about its consequences. The CFDT claims that globalization, in spite of destructing jobs, is creating a lot of jobs and opportunities in developed countries. [...]
[...] On one hand this criticism answers the preoccupation of national workers defense, and to the temptations of national identical fold, everywhere where the local crisis of adaptation of the economic area aggravates the tensions. On the other hand, by demonizing globalization and more particularly its supposed effects on the social situation of poor countries, trade unions cherish their members in the direction of the hair It gives them the occasion to hold a generous and ideologically correct speech, and maybe to buy themselves a good consciousness. But at the time of the predictable globalization of trade unionism, the stakes concern especially these national [...]
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