In our global world, borders between nations are becoming ever less significant.
It is hard to be satisfied knowing that rights at work are protected in our own backyard but not in the surrounding neighbourhood.
Capital has moved first. Goods are now manufactured all around the world, often in stages, yet organised labour does not have a clear strategy to respond.
We have two Living Wage movements who know little about each other:
- Well intentioned sweatshop and CSR advocates in the developed world, and
- Under-resourced local labour activists in the developing world
Some two-way learning would go a long way: Activists in the developed world have a lot of capacity which they could pass on to people at the local level; also we might make fewer assumptions about what people in poorer countries really want and why efforts to assist don’t have more impact.
I hope the snippets I publish on here are informative and convey that the problem is not so big that it can’t be solved.
About the author
Michael Walker lives in Sydney, Australia. He has worked ten years advocating for the labour, poverty and refugee causes.
(Only one story so far!) ‘Cheap milk and supermarket ethics’ Eureka Street, 27 March 2011
Labor vs Labour
As we use British English in Australia, I use the spelling “labour” when speaking in my own voice but retain the American English ”Labor” when that is how it appears in the original. Same with organisation / organization.