This article was translated by John R. Bopp
The Guardian brings us an article by Rupert Jones summarizing the conclusions reached in the report of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), based on a study carried out by the New Economics Foundation thinktank.
The report is called “How industrial change can be managed to deliver better jobs”. In it, this trade federation for England and Wales offers British authorities some of the keys to the challenge they’re facing (just like all economies around the world) in the next few decades: going to a carbon-zero economy and administering a fair transition to an economy with greater use of technology while maintaining and improving quality of life.
Carrying out this none-too-simple task, according to the report, demands that British authorities and society, and not the interests of the “market“, set priorities, goals, and the steps to take.
According to the TUC report, the United Kingdom has a horrible history of handling profound industrial changes fairly. Therefore, given the critical situation the UK finds itself in, it seems to them to be absolutely necessary that those responsible for setting policy take measures to understand the basic aspects of industrial transformations, and to defined the tools and policies that allow them to be molded by the state, employers, and unions that represent the collective voice of the workers and communities affected by this change.
As a contribution to what is a looming challenge, the TUC presents this report examining three case studies of places in Europe that have undergone large-scale changes recently: Bilbao, in the Basque Country; Eindhoven in Holland; and Iceland. The goal is for these success stories, as well as their defects and experiences, to serve as learning tools, and then to apply those lessons learned to the UK.
Given the “small size” of the Basque Autonomous Community, which the report itself highlights, it is understood (and this can be checked within the report itself) that when speaking about “Bilbao”, they’re really taking on a more global perspective, including the whole of the BAC.
They analyze the path followed by this part of Basque society from the complicated situation it found itself in at the end of the dictatorship, right up to today. Among the elements they highlight is the capacity for leadership of Basque institutions, as well as their ability to make decisions that might not have too much popular support. Also highlighted is the commitment and awareness of the society, as well as how the predominant role played by unions and cooperatives as a fundamental part of this society have been key in ensuring that these transformations don’t turn their back on the greater part of society. Also, among those elements that this analysis highlights is the ability of Basque society to remain a society where the industrial economy is still a key player, even as other sectors have acquired more importance they didn’t use to have.
In the report’s special thank yous, the ELA trade union and Bilbao Metrópoli 30 are included.
This isn’t the first time other nations’ labor unions have looked at the Basque Country, especially as regards the cooperative model. We’ve blogged some references from unions in the US looking at the “Mondragón model”, as well as articles which proposed the Basque cooperative model as a role model for a “world in crisis”, not to mention the recognition from Welsh cooperatives for the help received from Basque cooperatives at the start of their journey thirty years ago.
The Guardian – 15/7/2019 – Great Britain
UK needs strategy to deal with industrial change – TUC report
The government must come up with a blueprint for dealing with the challenges that automation and the move to a low-carbon economy pose for UK industry, says a report by the TUC.
Trades Union Congress -15/7/2019 – Great Britain
How industrial change can be managed to deliver better jobs
Moving to a net zero-carbon economy and managing a fair transition to an economy with greater use of technology, whilst maintaining and improving livelihoods, is a major task ahead of the UK government in the coming decades. Whilst the details of an industrial policy to direct this change are important, without a visionary state taking a lead on social dialogue at national and local levels to ensure policies are responsive to the needs, capabilities and cultures of the people and places they will effect, the necessary transformation will fail.
The whole report can be read here
or seen here: