Hundreds of aid organisations, charities, trade unions and religious groups have formed a global alliance called Make Poverty History.
Leading this alliance is Nelson Mandela who
dramatically launched the campaign in London earlier this year.
The former South African President, who was wearing a white band throughout
his address, said our generation has a unique opportunity to impact on the
campaign to Make Poverty
Nelson Mandela told a massive crowd in London’s Trafalgar Square:
” Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural, It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the action of human beings.
” Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It
is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a
decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.
” Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great
generation. Let your greatness blossom. Ofcourse the task will not be easy. But
not to do this would be a crime against humanity, against which I ask all
humanity now to rise up.”
LHMU National President, Helen Creed, said our union and its members can heed
the call from Nelson Mandela by backing this important campaign in large and
small ways here in Australia.
The Make Poverty History campaign encapsulates the core values of a union
like ours, Helen Creed, said.
” Like us Make Poverty History campaigners are struggling for social and
Key message of global economic justice is straightforward for unionists
” Their key message: that the global economic system is rigged against the
poor when it comes to trade, debt and aid, is a straightforward one for trade
unionists used to negotiating in their own workplaces,” Helen Creed said.
” We also know from our own struggles that there is nothing natural or
inevitable about millions living in want.”moral argument for union solidarity
with the developing world has always existed.
” However in an age of ever increasing globalisation, the direct economic
consequences to LHMU members workers of these unfair patterns of development and
underdevelopment are increasingly clear,” Helen Creed said.
” Never has the International Labour Organisation’s claim that, ‘poverty
anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere’ been more true.
” When countries, desperate to attract foreign investment, adopt laws and
standards which undermine decent standards for workers rights then working
families in other countries – including ours – lose out.
” This year trade unions are using May Day to promote this campaign around
the world in a Global
Call to Action Against Poverty.
” We are demanding that the grand promises made by governments at the United
Nations and elsewhere should be put into action urgently.
” The world can no longer afford to ignore the plight of the hundreds of
millions of women and men who live in less than one dollar per day.
Creating decent jobs for all
” Creating decent jobs for all has never been more important, as divisions
between the haves and the have-nots in the global economy grow ever greater.
” One billion people are unemployed, underemployed or working poor: 60% of
these are women.
” Unions like ours are joining hands with other unions to demand debt relief
to the poorest countries, greatly increased development aid and justice in the
global trading system.
” More than 200 million children are working instead of at school, while
young people who have finished their education struggle to find decent jobs in
countries across the globe.
” Millions of working people face exploitation, discrimination and
insecurity, having to accept jobs which pay too little for them, and those who
depend on them, to have a decent life.
” Trade unions themselves face enormous pressures, as governments and employers in many countries violate workers’ rights, including outright assaults on the trade union movement.
” Joint global action is critically important to put an end to
union-busting, and to defend the rights of those, particularly women, who
are the victims of the global race to the bottom.
” LHMU members can be confident that we can meet the challenge to change the
path of globalisation, especially as we partner with unions in other countries,
such as our sister unions in North America – the SEIU and UNITE-HERE!
” We will act with them across borders and across continents to help organise
the millions of workers who are denied union rights, to tackle the exploitation
of migrant workers and to put women and men on an equal footing in our own
movement, in the workplace and in society,” Ms Creed said.