Examination of Witnesses (Questions 97
TUESDAY 11 JULY 2006
Q97 Chairman: Good morning and welcome
to this inquiry on globalisation. Our apologies for being a little
bit late, but it was quite a fascinating discourse that we had
with Mr Wolf. Can I ask you to introduce yourselves for the shorthand
Mr Clark: I am Nick Clark. I am
a policy officer in the General Secretary's department at the
Mr Dubbins: I am Simon Dubbins,
Director of International from Amicus.
Mr Exell: Richard Exell, Senior
Policy Officer at the Trades Union Congress.
Q98 Chairman: You do not all need
to answer every question because we are looking to finish at about
12 o'clock. Can I maybe start by talking about the issue of winners
and losers. Do you think globalisation is inevitable, and what
are the most important threats and opportunities from globalisation?
Mr Exell: I think perhaps
I should take a lead on that question as it is the central theme
of our written comments. Globalisation is not inevitable, but
the current prices of communications make it a very likely continuing
theme of the world economy. One of our clear conclusions has been
that there are hundreds of thousands of British jobs that depend
upon international trade and investment, so globalisation has
a positive side as well as a negative side. There are workers
who lose out as well as workers who gain from it. Overall, the
balance is positive, so it ought to be possible for those of us
who gain, either through cheaper goods that we are buying in the
shops or through increased opportunities for the firms we work
for, to pay to compensate the people who are at risk of losing.
At the moment that is not being done on a fair basis. We could
not claim really that Jobseekers Allowance, for instance, for
people who lose their jobs is a fair form of provision. We do
think that if we are going to avoid calls for protectionism in
this country, we do need a widely-accepted system of compensation
for people who lose out.
Q99 Mr Mudie: Pricewaterhouse reckon
that low and medium-skilled workers in tradeable sectors would
lose low and medium-skilled workers in non-tradeable sectors open
to migrant labour and also mass-market manufacturers. That seems
a fair number of people and a very vulnerable set of people set
Mr Exell: You can see my theory
might indicate that. There is not much evidence though to show
that is happening as a general pattern of events; there are specific
instances. There are specific manufacturing companies, in particular,
where you can point to workers who have plainly lost their jobs
because of international competition or outsourcing, but the evidence
does not really, and should not, show that has been the norm.