June 21, 06
Globalization Leaving Many Behind, Says Holy See
Official Laments Lack of "Decent Work"
GENEVA, JUNE 14, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Millions of workers advance the global economy without themselves enjoying "decent work," a Holy See official told the International Labor Organization.
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See's permanent observer to the ILO, discussed this issue when addressing the 95th session of the International Labor Conference, which began in Geneva on May 31 and will close on Friday.
According to the Vatican press office, the conference's main topic of discussion is "the promotion of decent work for all, that is, work duly remunerated and carried out in respect of the dignity of workers."
Archbishop Tomasi, 65, expressed satisfaction that "decent work, not only as a notion, but as a strategic agenda, is now at the forefront of any discussion on eradicating poverty and that a convergence of efforts is under way for its implementation."
However, he noted the task is still "far from reaching its target."
"The liberalization of finance and trade and the ongoing process of globalization have produced much wealth," noted the prelate. "But plenty of evidence shows growing disparities among and within countries in reaping the benefits of this increased wealth."
The idea of "decent work" leads one to think of people who are "not sufficiently qualified to board the globalization train or whose capacity and talents are utilized to propel forward the global economy without their sharing in the accruing benefits," the Holy See official lamented.
Such people, he said, "are in the tens of millions: undocumented migrants working in agriculture, in manufacturing, in domestic service; women in textile industry working in unhealthy conditions and with miserable salaries; workers labeled by their race, cast or religion that are relegated to the marginal jobs of society without a chance for upward mobility."
According to Archbishop Tomasi, "A globalization that fosters economic growth without equity, blocks access to decent work and calls into question the current functioning of the international structures created to facilitate the flow of ideas, capital, technology, goods and people for the common good."
Moreover, the prelate noted "indecent work" pushes people into crises, increasing the risk of anti-social and destructive behavior.
He added, "The changed perspective of what decent work for all entails, calls for a renewed emphasis on the dignity of every person and on the common good by placing them at the center of all labor activities and policies.
"A safe and healthy working environment is an integral component of decent work, especially if we keep in mind the 270 million work accidents and illnesses causing the death of about 5,000 workers daily."
Observing that the number of child laborers has been reduced by 11% worldwide over the period 2000 to 2004, Archbishop Tomasi said that this "should redouble the determination of governments, employers, unions and the civil society to aim at a total elimination of child labor."