British workers 'most vulnerable to globalisation'

26-08-2006

Workers and businesses in the UK are more vulnerable to the negative effects of globalisation than other European nations, a union has claimed.

While employees are reaping the benefits of cheaper goods and greater prosperity due to globalisation, it also puts workers' livelihoods at greater risk, particularly those who are older or unskilled, said the TUC.

The fact that Britain is a net importer and buys in 25 per cent more goods than it sells abroad, puts workers more at risk from international trade than its EU neighbours, the union said.

Britain's high number of multinational businesses who can easily relocate operations abroad, as well as the UK business strategy of keeping costs down for wages and for investments in skills and training, puts these workers at further risk, it said.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "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."

In its submission to the government's 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review, the union has called for more support for workers vulnerable to the downsides of globalisation and for businesses needing to compete internationally to safeguard jobs.

It has proposed a range of steps, including establishing training and job search support for workers who lose their jobs due to major changes in world trade.



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