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Poll by world union shows failure on jobs

16 May 2017 By ACTU

New global polling on rising inequality for workers shows Australian workers have the same fears and problems as their international counterparts.

The global poll commissioned by the 181 million-member International Trade Union Confederation, shows globalisation is failing people with three in four in fear for their jobs and seeing a growing gap between themselves and the richest 1 one per cent.

The ever increasing gap between working people and the very rich is clear in results from the poll:

  • 74 per cent worried about rising inequality;
  • 80 per cent say the minimum wage is not enough to live on; and
  • 80 per cent of people have falling or stagnating incomes.

The poll also shows deep levels of uncertainty about job security, with:

  • 73 per cent of people worried about losing their jobs;
  • 49 per cent don’t have enough money for basic essentials or are barely getting by; and
  • 38 per cent have experienced unemployment or reduced working hours in the past two years.

Driving these concerns is a fundamental belief by seven out of 10 people (71% per cent) that working people do not have influence on how the rules of the economy are set with 80 per cent saying the economic system favours the wealthy rather than being fair to most.

The poll covers 16 countries representing 53 per cent of the global population, including Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Japan, Russia, South Arica, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The research was released ahead of the Labour 20 Dialogue in Berlin and the ACTU says the results results reflect its research on Australians’ attitude on issues such as job security.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“We are living through a time when corporations and the very rich have become far too powerful in the global economy and this has happened so quickly that our laws and rights that keep things in balance have not kept up.”

“The power imbalance between the very rich and working people is a global issue, but it is being felt locally here in Australia with issues such as corporations not paying their fair share of tax, penalty rates cuts, job insecurity, stagnant wage growth, wage theft, and the inability to pay for a decent standard of living becoming a major problem.”

“The results confirm what we hear from Australian workers every day, that cuts to penalty rates will only benefit employers and no new jobs will be created, despite our Government telling us the opposite.”

“The results also reflect research about Australians’ attitudes on this issue including a recent Essential poll which showed only 3 in 10 Australians approve of the decision to reduce current Sunday penalty rates.”

“While working Australians are grappling with these challenges, big corporations and the very rich use their power to rewrite the rules in their favour.”

“Australian unions are leading a movement to rewrite the rules to bring back fairness.”

“We can create a better community with a better future for working people, with social protection, good, steady jobs and decent living wages, but urgent action is needed.”



Further notes on poll results:

The poll showed strong support for governments to take action:

• 71 per cent say governments should be working towards a payrise for workers.
• 77 per cent say governments should do more to make sure companies pay their fair share of taxes.
• 71 per cent want governments to adopt new rules for multinationals to end abuse of workers through their supply chains.

The ITUC will present the findings of the 2017 ITUC global poll at the Labour 20 Dialogue Forum attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin 16 - 17th May, ahead of the G20 Labour Ministers Meeting in Bad Neuenahr 18-19th May.

The findings of the ITUC global poll represent the opinion of 53 percent of the global population. Kantar Public carried out the fieldwork online from February 20th – March 6th 2017. In each country approximately 1000 people were interviewed (in Guatemala 500) , with a total of 15,728 responses.


Media contact: Antonia Acott 0418 739 885 or ACTU Media 03 9664 7315

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