Det er afslørende og frustrerende
In every society, there are wheels that move development and economic growth. These wheels are the workers, they determine just how successful the state is - because they are the state. Therefore – they should be treated as dignified members, regardless of their social standing and the their category of work.
Being a member of the super17 has been exposing and infuriating. Exposing because we have seen what countries have the potential to become and infuriating because so much possibilities and opportunities are being wasted!
Today we had goal number 8! Today we explored the possibility of a sustainable and favourable economy for all, and I will be giving my findings shortly.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has set some core labour standards, part of which is “the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.”
Learning that the Danish Crown factory in Faaborg will be closing down gave me so much heartache at first, but as I later discovered, it isn’t an insurmountable problem but a challenge that will be solved over time. This is a challenge for the labour unions and the workers and their families, however in most developing countries, this would have been a really huge problem for the workers and their families only.
To have a safety net (such as the Danish job centers, free education and monthly stipends for those who are out of jobs) gives some sort of semblance to a normal life. It saves the majority from depression, and save the society from unhappy sad people. And so I ask the labour unions of underdeveloped and developing countries, do you understand, appreciate and utilize your right to effective recognition and collective bargaining?
The key word being “bargaining’; some developing countries would ask you, are there employers to bargain with in the first place? Where are the jobs that need to be bargained for?
This is where economic growth comes in. We need an increase in the Gross Domestic Product of the country. We need more foreign reserves, we need to trade more with other countries, and this leads me to economic development. Does economic growth signify economic development?
According to an article by the BBC in 2014, Nigeria’s GDP for 2013 totaled over 300 Billion Euro and yet the unemployment rate has steadily increased over the years. It was 19.7 % in 2009, 21.1 % in 2010 and 23.9% in 2010.
Do people have “decent” jobs? Jobs where they aren’t afraid to speak to the employers and demand their rights and better treatment? Are the people able to access the majority of facilities and infrastructure for free? The answer to all these is NO. The high and astonishing GDP doesn’t put more money in the financial institutions neither does it feed nor clothe the people. Denmark has a free education and health system; is this something leaders of developing countries can begin to think about?
We have an 18,000 Naira minimum wage in Nigeria (19 dollars per month), which some governments are yet to implement, but is this really the way to go? Does having a fixed rate not shut down the possibilities of negotiation and renegotiation?
And the solution? I think, just like the developed countries, the solution is to have an active and dedicated labour union. A labour union working solely for the development of the people. A union that is not in any way politicized. There is nothing as liberating as the power of the people in solidarity with one cause.
I see only one thing standing in the way. A corruption-infested society. The people need to know that those fighting and agitating on their behalf cannot be bought by government or the employers. They need to know that their rights come first.
If Africa can get rid of corruption, the world is in for some serious global economic development.