European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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28 January 2010, Brussels

ETUI Monthly forum - Work After globalisation

Speaker: Guy Standing, University of Bath
Moderator: Philippe Pochet, General Director, ETUI
Comments: Catelene Passchier, ETUC Confederal Secretary and Andreas Botsch, ETUI Special Advisor

Briefing: Karl Polanyi described the early decades of the 20th century as “the Great Transformation”. In reacting to an era of financial market domination, it ushered in a period of industrial citizenship, in which trade unions were central to a labour-based system of regulation, redistribution and social security. Today, we are in the midst of the Global Transformation. The globalisation era marked the erosion of labourist mechanisms of regulation, redistribution and social protection. This Transformation is about the forging of an international market system, and so far the results have been growing economic volatility, economic insecurity, widening inequalities, pervasive stress and the encroachment of the surveillance state. The challenge now is to identify a new progressive agenda, based on richer ideas of work and occupation that are emerging, and recognising that policies and institutions must respond to the fears and aspirations of the global precariat, the new dangerous class. The challenge is addressed in the book on which this presentation will draw, which lays out a strategy for union revival in guises suited to a tertiary society. Depicting the agenda as one of occupational citizenship, it paints a picture of associational freedom, collaborative bargaining and occupational regulation, around ecologically sustainable values of conservation and reproduction rather than resource use and depletion.

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