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Workers Rights

There is a system set in place around the world. Generate money for

survival. Work to make ends meet. Work to feed your loved ones. Work for

shelter. Work, work, work and keep on working. This is the mentality on a

global level. Most people are so concerned with earning the extra dollar, we

dont have time to concern ourselves with the difficulties faced to get there.

The majority of us are lucky. Or at least those of us in the United

States. Or a majority of middle, upper class American workers. Our country

has already gone through the industrial revolution which had secured many

of us the rights we currently take for granted in the workforce: minimum

wages, safety requirements, discrimination protections and so on. But, many

other countries around the world have it worse off than we do. Additionally,

although often overlooked, many people in our country are often have

terrible working conditions as well. It may seem as if these problems are

nonexistent, but problems in the workforce are plaguing the globe.

Rights guaranteed in the workforce vary by country, but the United

Nations International Labor Organization contains a set list of universal

standards and guidelines which every country is supposed to abide by. This

organization advocates against child labor, sweatshops and human

trafficking. Additionally, they push for maternity rights, living wages, gender

equality and many other matters to protect people within the workforce.

According to the International Trade Union Confederation, aside from

the top five countries with the highest scores, every country needs to treat

its workers better ( The top five countries for

workers rights are Austria, Finland, Netherlands, Norway and Uruguay.

Statistics show that as the world continues to globalize, the protection of

these rights is on the decline.

Countries which were recently ranked with the worst labor protections

include Belarus, China, Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi

Arabia, Swaziland, and the United Arab Emirates


f_b_7553364.html). Within each of these countries, their governments enable

these violations to occur: men and women are prohibited from leaving fields

such as farming and forestry, involvement in strikes can result in threats or

harassment by officials, union involvement results in possibility of murder,

mass arrests or other types of violence, and exclusionary labor laws are

currently in place. In some of these countries, in particular those located in

the Middle East, forced labor is still prevalent. The main reason these
countries are on the list, aside from the abuses listed above, is the

overarching inability of these governments to respect international law,

specifically the rights to association and collective bargaining. Additionally, in

order to ensure the international improvement in labor, countries need to

find ways to ensure that companies are respecting their rule of law and

rights of their workforces.

But, this seems to bring increasing difficulties as the economy expands

worldwide. Globalization is causing companies to impact more people in

negative ways. While the borders open between countries, people are losing

their national identity. And, while good for businesses, this continues to harm

workers. Even when countries attempt to regulate these multinational

corporations they soon find out that they have little power to do so. If

countries try to regulate these companies one of two things often happens.

One option is the company can move its operations to a country where those

particular rules and regulations dont exist. This is possible due to the

structural adjustment programs in place by the IMF and World Bank. These

programs force nations to cut back in order to cheaply export more goods as

a result of these limitations set by the IMF and World Bank. This can be

highlighted with the company Nike


They have established factories in Southeast Asia rather than in the Unites

States or Europe because they can have more leniency in the treatment and

payment of their labor force. Additionally, in Germany many major

corporations forced the country to change its tax policies by threatening to

move their company bases. Major organizations such as BMW and Mercedes

convinced Germany to reduce tax rates to below the current US rates. These

tax breaks and cuts often have a negative impact on the public. Another

scenario involves the corporations lobbying manpower to force trade

agreements to be written in their favor. Often, this allows these organizations

to obtain cheaper resources and workers.

As expressed, the main issue is no individual nation has the power to

stand up against this corporate globalizing movement. These companies

manipulate countries, particularly the smaller, developing nations, to

conform to their desires. Although, first world countries often do try to use

their power to force other nations to abide by labor standards. Third world

countries often want this exploitation to pressure the organizations which

allow or cause these abuses. Due to the terrible exploitation in these

countries, often employers will pass the costs of changing standards, as a

result of the international trade treaties, to their employees by lowering

wages. Therefore, the most beneficial option for all parties is often to help

improve the bargaining strengths of workers in these developing countries.

But, this solution does not always help either. This continues to be a

fight between international organizations, countries and their governments

along with corporations. Hopefully one day soon, these three groups will find

better cooperation tactics to solve these problems, creating better situations

for all parties involved. But until then, dont be afraid to speak your mind for
all of these men, women and children who lack these rights. Fortunately, we

have rights which protect us against our governments, therefore, we can

speak up for these people who may not have the ability to do so.