Stop the race to the bottom, fight the exploitation of workers

14 March 2019

Stop the race to the bottom, fight the exploitation of workers

Many products on sale in the Netherlands are made elsewhere in the world, often under atrocious working conditions and for a much lower wage than they would be paid here. In the last fifty years a large slice of Dutch industry has decamped to low wage countries. The result? Competition between Dutch workers and workers abroad, the consequence of which is a race to the bottom. According to free market politicians and the multinationals, wages in the Netherlands must also be lowered if we want to compete with foreign countries. The ordinary Dutch or foreign worker gains no benefit from this, but big corporations have the last laugh as they see their profits explode.

SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur and Arnout Hoekstra, who leads the party's list for May's European Parliament elections, at the signing of the call for a fresh UN treaty against exploitation of workers. Number One on the SP list for the European elections, Arnout Hoekstra is determined to combat these kinds of human rights abuses. “The SP fights against the exploitation of workers,” he says. “In the Netherlands, but also abroad, We need a fresh UN treaty that would make it impossible for firms selling their products in our country to abuse human rights elsewhere in the world. We must hold domestic corporations responsible for their misdeeds in other parts of the world. Politicians who think of nothing but the profits of multinationals have for too long looked the other way. We must call for an end to the race to the bottom for wages and working conditions.”

SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur has spent the last five years fighting to have human rights included in trade treaties. As a member of the European working group on responsible business conduct she was one of the co-authors of a call for a fresh EU treaty, as well as other measures. The call was signed by MEPs from numerous different countries and political parties. Next Tuesday, 19th March, a meeting of which the SP is one of the organisers will take place at the EP in Brussels, at which the text will be presented to Jeffrey Sachs,special adviser to UN Secretary-General on the Sustainable Development Goals. “As one of the world's biggest economies the European Union has a major responsibility to lead the fight against human rights abuses on the global level, says Mineur. “We need the UN and world leaders to put a stop to such abuses everywhere.”

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