ILO Publication Highlights Alternative Approaches to Labor Challenges in the Global South
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A new ILO publication, "Labor Challenges in the Global South," documents a range of experiences in developing countries and argues that changes in the global economy present new opportunities for labor, including in the area of green jobs, and through the integration of workers and their organizations in transnational solidarity networks.

ILO21 September 2012: A three-part volume of papers released by the ILO, titled “Labour in the Global South: Challenges and Alternatives for Workers,” documents alternative approaches to labor challenges in developing countries, including consideration of green jobs, new forms of organization among marginalized service workers, and alliances between trade unions and political parties, among other topics.

Part one of the publication examines the challenges of exploitation and marginalization in the globalized economy. The authors argue that changes in the global economy present new opportunities for labor, including in the area of green jobs, and through the integration of workers and their organizations in transnational solidarity networks. They highlight shifts in policy discourse, for example in the climate justice movement, from “the old green-red debate” of labor versus the environment towards a view of mutual interdependence.

Part two explores linkages between political movements and organized labor in Brazil, Germany, South Africa and Uruguay. The authors note that relations between trade unions and political movements have often taken place in the context of independence struggles, but that unions have often been marginalized in the aftermath, once power has been consolidated.

Part three looks at creative responses to the emerging challenges and threats of the global economy, including studies of the “recovered factories” movement in Argentina and the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India that works to support informal women workers, as well as to protect the environment and take action on climate change.

The authors conclude that while workers and the poor face serious structural challenges in the globalized economy, there has been a renewed vitality of response to these challenges. [Executive Summary (English)] [Executive Summary (Spanish)] [Executive Summary (French)] [ILO Publication Website]

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