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Training Key to Beating Globalisation Pitfalls


Training could be the key to combating the downsides of globalisation, according to the TUC.

Although British workers enjoy the benefits of globalisation, such as keener prices, they are more vulnerable than their European counterparts to the downsides, including company relocation.

In a submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007, the TUC says British workers are more vulnerable for three reasons:

  • Britain buys 25 per cent more than it sells on the global market.

  • The UK is home to more multi-national companies who can easily relocate operations overseas.

  • The typical UK business strategy of keeping down costs, such as wages and investment in skills and training, risks work moving to countries where it can be done more cheaply.

As a result, the TUC says deregulation and tax cuts are red herrings. Instead the Government should:

  • Help employees who lose out by training and supporting the unskilled and older workers who are likely to find it harder to find another job if they lose one and consider making companies who move jobs abroad to take out insurance paying 70 per cent of their redundant workers’ fall in earnings for the next two years.

  • Help UK companies better capitalise on global export opportunities, particularly in emerging economies such as China and India, by supporting the development of strategic manufacturing and service sectors, in particular, environmental technology.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber, said: “Globalisation has made a real difference to the quality of life of working people in the UK and across the world but there are victims as well as winners.

“Too many British workers are losing their jobs when companies move abroad or fail to compete. Cheap DVD players and clothes are scant compensation if you are being downgraded to poor quality, insecure, low-paid work.

“Of course we can’t say ‘stop the world I want to get off’ and turn back the tide of globalisation by erecting barriers to try and protect industries and jobs.

“But that does not mean we are powerless in shaping its impact. The Government must provide support to older and unskilled individuals to help them adapt to the opening up of world markets and ensure that all UK workers benefit.”

Specific proposals from the TUC include:

  • Establishing a UK fund to provide training and job search support for workers who lose their jobs due to major changes in world trade, administered at a regional level, to partner the relatively small EU Globalisation Adjustment Fund (€500 million) set up during the UK Presidency in 2005.

  • As part of a ‘responsible restructuring’ model requiring companies to use a tiny percentage of their savings from moving jobs abroad to insure UK workers for 70 per cent of the difference between their wages for the job they lost and their new job, for up to two years. The model would also include consultation with trade unions and employees and helping staff to find work or set up their own business.

  • Investing in the employability of workers in industries threatened by global competition. This would include making employers train all employees to do their existing job and companies, unions and Government working together to improve UK skills levels across the workforce.


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