The Global Context

Poverty and Employment

Globalisation reaches every aspect of our lives. We buy t-shirts made in Asia, tropical fruits from around the world and our football teams are a worldwide swap-shop but globalisation has a profound effect on workers and trade unions. We are now facing the reality that jobs are also moving around the world as employers seek the cheapest labour and manufacturing costs. Can we as trade union members ignore this?

The struggle for workers rights, for decent work and decent wages, has to be taken up globally to ensure that everyone gets a fair share.


  • 20% of the worlds population, 1.2 billion people, live in absolute poverty.
  • 2 billion people don't have access to clean water and sanitation, with huge consequences in death and disease.
  • One child dies every 3 seconds in the developing world from preventable causes.
  • 2 million workers, most of them in developing countries, die or are injured each year from accidents in the workplace or from work related illness.
  • 30 million people in Africa are HIV-positive.
  • One mother dies in childbirth every minute.
  • 2 million women and girls are subjected to female genital mutilation each year.
  • America spends $10 billion on pornography each year - as much as it spends on foreign aid.

Large employers are looking to exploit poverty by taking work to the places in the world where earnings are the lowest. As economies improve or decline that work will continue to move. Unions can only hope to address this by working together, across constituencies, across industries and across borders.

You can Help

The Aid News Website
Stamp Out Poverty
A network of more than 50 UK organisations, including Oxfam, Christian Aid, AMICUS and War on Want, who have pioneered initiatives such as a stamp duty on sterling currency transactions, which can raise billions to help provide clean water, healthcare and education.

Working as part of MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY in 2005 the campaign made significant progress with an agreement in February 2006, by several countries including the UK and France, to set up an Air Ticket Levy to finance development.

​​​​​​​Alma Hospital Trust
A trust promoted by the CWU to build and equip a hospital in a remote part of Pakistan.

CWU Humanitarian Aid
CWUHA take aid to where it is needed most (please help if you can). Many underprivileged children have benefited from your generosity over the past 10 years

Together We Can Make A Difference