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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

'Global titans of technology' deprive working people of dignity, union leader says at Vatican


Frances O’Grady will call on the Catholic Church and trade unions to build 'a popular alliance for economic justice'

Inequality and the “new global titans of technology” are depriving working people of dignity, Britain’s trade union chief will tell Catholic and labour movement leaders at the Vatican today.

Frances O’Grady, the TUC general secretary, will call on the Catholic Church and trade unions to build “a popular alliance for economic justice”, in her speech this afternoon given at a meeting of international trade unionists and Catholic leaders in Rome.

Cardinal Peter Turkson will lead the two-day meeting which will hear testimony of injustices suffered by working people and consider how trade unions and the church can work together to achieve greater social justice.

O’Grady will warn of the harm done to UK workers by inequality and corporate power, including the “new global titans of technology” who she will describe as having “wealth and power beyond our imagination”.

“Technological change is concentrating wealth at the expense of working people,” she will say, and will refer to tax avoidance by global digital giants and to contemporary forms of worker exploitation. She will call on listeners to “challenge the very values on which our economies run.”

“The market should be our servant, not our master. Value cannot be measured in monetary terms alone. And  individual greed must not triumph over the common good,” she will add.

O’Grady will encourage Catholic leaders to continue their history of supporting workers who take action to uphold their rights, using the example of Cardinal Manning who supported striking dockers in the 19th century. He described the refusal of employers to negotiate with their workers as a ‘public evil’.

She will call on Catholic leaders to work with trade unions, saying that together they can improve working lives and “put dignity for working people ahead of market forces and freedom of capital”. With shared values of community, dignity and social solidarity, the Catholic church and trade unions can together “build a popular alliance for economic justice, in Britain and around the world,” she will conclude.

Addressing Italian trade unions in June, Pope Francis said society did not understand the value of trade unions, because it has “forgotten” the social nature of economy and business. 

“This is one of the greatest errors”, he said
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