The Challenges of the International Labor Union Movement

For the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), it is the young people, specifically young workers, that will shape and sway the direction of the future of the union movement. The ITUC is an umbrella organization composed of the national unions of several countries. The ITUC laments that young workers are victims of lack of employment, irregular employment, and labor exploitation and discrimination. The sector is also ill-equipped with ability and capability skills due to poor education and skills training.

Labor has started to face two stark realities: the infusion of young blood and the inescapable globalization of trade. What has not changed is the fact that unions exist in a hostile environment. This condition of hostility will even be more pronounced in the future. Globalization means the redistribution of global capital. In this movement and trend, it will be inescapable to have an international labor market that is not balanced. Countries that offer cheaper labor will corner much of the labor market, to the detriment of other labor markets across the globe. With this trend, labor forces in many countries are bound to be further disadvantaged in the future. Another recent trend is the preponderance of labor export. The existence of migrant labor is yet another facet to the changing labor scenario across the globe.

The challenge lies in the ability of the union movement to redesign its existence along the realities of global challenges. Unions have to coordinate across the globe because the world has become one huge workplace. Trade unionism will survive the future if, and only if, it sees globalization as an opportunity rather than a liability and debilitating threat. The future of the union movement lies in the hands of the unions themselves. They shall shape their future.



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