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Fairness is the challenge APEC must meet

Fairness is the challenge APEC must meet

Brussels, November 14, 2005 (ICFTU OnLine): Guy Ryder, the General Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions will today meet the Korean Prime Minister, Lee Hai-chan in a bid to place social justice and workers' rights on APEC's agenda.

Ryder will lead a delegation of Asian and Latin American trade unionists that will be holding a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Labour Network at the same time. They will urge the Prime Minister to work for setting up an APEC Labour Forum and adopt concrete measures to promote labour participation in APEC.

"When the leaders of the 21 countries that make up APEC meet this week under the theme of Towards One Community: Meet the Challenge, Make the Change they will not be discussing the one subject at the forefront of their citizens' minds: how to make globalization and trade work for all. APEC's real challenge is not to enlarge trade and investment in line with the Bogor goals adopted in 1994, but to create opportunities and ensure fair distribution of the wealth generated by globalisation amongst all in the region and throughout the rest of the world," Ryder commented.

The ILO estimates that 2 billion people in Asia live on 2 US Dollars or less per day.

"In this context, APEC must change its imbalanced, business-oriented approach to globalization and give the highest priority to achieving social justice based on decent work and full respect of fundamental workers' rights, with a concrete and detailed work programme to give effect to that" Ryder added.

The ICFTU/APLN has been calling on APEC leaders to endorse the establishment of an APEC Labour Forum, in the form of an APEC formal consultative mechanism with trade unions comparable with the current arrangements for access by the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).

"As long as business is playing a leading part in APEC but workers' concerns are shunned, it is difficult to believe that the growth and prosperity the forum aims to achieve will benefit them," Ryder concluded.

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