The wrong kind of investment?

Saturday, 3rd March 2007 at 16:16 UTC Leave a comment

According to the head of CBI Wales, David Rosser, the success (what success? the plant is still shedding 300 jobs and closing) of the Burberry workers’ fight might put multinational bullies off investing in Wales. This isn’t surprising from the leader of an organisation more or less aimed at unionising bosses to defend their interests from government imposed restrictions. While jobs are sorely needed in Wales, perhaps we should pause for a moment and ask what kind of jobs we should want to see created.
I was at a conference last weekend (as well as attending a protest and a Critical Mass bike ride) where we heard from a leading American thinker on Christianity and Economic Justice, Tony Campolo. He talked of how important the kind of investment that allows workers to build their own companies is, rather than the kind brought by multinationals.
We should be looking to more cooperative ways of creating jobs, not relying on the type of companies Mr Rosser is speaking about. Apparently the companies he wants to bring to the region regard ‘fire-ability’ (my word choice) as essential to an area.
Its also worth noting that the local member of the Welsh Assembly believes the campaign could have attracted positive interest as well, so obviously not everyone who wants to employ garment workers is obsessed with how easy it would be to fire them a few years later.
Of course, what’s really tragic is that we’re hearing about this and not about the remarks made about developing world countries where TNC’s (transnational corporations), or their representatives on the ground, are pulling out simply because Union’s have been formed. The idea businesses should want to disinvest from areas where workers care about their lives and their ability to support their families is sickening.
Campolo suggested that the solution, one he is implementing in Haiti, is to help create better jobs for those who need them. Haiti is home to Disney sweatshops. OK, Disney does not own them, nor does it deal with the owners directly, but if Disney clothes are made in them, we must hold Disney ultimately accountable. We should empower the locals to do something about their poverty. He talked of ‘selling’ this idea to capitalists and to socialists in one day, and finding both loved it: free enterprise and worker control hand in hand.
So to David Rosser my only response would be “tough, you and your unfair employer cronies can get lost, and let companies that don’t mind workers asking for justice come in instead; better still, lets help the unemployed create their own work”.

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Entry filed under: Economics, Politics.

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