An outline of the



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4. Trade Union Strategies


No matter what the effects of globalisation on workers it is important that the trade union movement put in a number of strategies at both international and local level.

These include:

1. The provision of labour standards in international trade agreements and fora (eg the 'social clause' in the WTO, and similar provisions in APEC, regional trade agreements, and the MAI).

2. Advocacy of workers-rights and labour standards in World Bank and IMF programs.

3. Codes of Conduct for multinational companies on labour standards (eg Reebok, Levi Strauss, FIFA).

4. International labour co-operation. For example:

- International union action against mining giant Rio Tinto, led by former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke (the union group met in Johannesburg in February 1998 at a meeting hosted by South African President Nelson Mandela).

5. Industrial campaigns on globalisation issues. For example: the very successful 'fair wear campaign' by the TCFUA on outwork. It has been argued that the tariff reductions in the TCF industry has forced local companies to use outworkers. The 'fair wear campaign' has seen a number of retailers agree to sign the TCFUA's code of conduct on outwork. Campaigns that highlight the social, economic and regional consequences of poor trade policy can be effective.

6. Recruitment campaigns on globalisation (why unions are needed now more than ever).

7. Continued involvement in trade and industry policy and labour market and training programs.

Not all strategies on globalisation are confined to "trade" and "international" issues. For example, education and training reform of the 1980s and award restructuring have done much to lessen the impact on low skilled workers of globalisation in Australia. This high-skill, high-wage, high-productivity approach contrasts favourably with the "concession bargaining" approach of US unions in the late 1970s and early 1980s.




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