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Tech revolution ‘not yielding jobs’: union chief

The official theme of this year's World Economic Forum (WEF) has been the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with a lot of discussions revolving around how technology will transform the global economy and impact the labor market.

Yet Philip Jennings, General Secretary of the UNI Global Union, told CNBC Friday that "I've not found one report that says there will be more people in work as a result of this technological revolution."

Speaking from Davos, the labor union boss said global economy leaders should take the lead from the COP21 talks in Paris last year where they talked about "adaption, mitigation, and just transition to save the planet."

The same framework is needed [here], said Jennings, to CNBC. "One in two people have no ICT (information and communications technology) skills whatsoever. We only spend one percent of our GDP on active labor market policies."


Jennings added that the world's income and equality problem will only get worse unless "we pull these policy levers."

"It's about better policies and it's a choice that we have to make, a continuation of business as usual is not going to help the working men and women of this planet," he warned.

On the back of this week's Oxfam report that stated the world's 62 richest people have as much money as the poorest 3.5 billion, Jennings criticized JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon, "the Wall Street king," for paying himself a 35 percent wage increase.

"This is a rotten example, Jamie, you know better than this," said Jennings, "The men and women of America have not had a real wage increase for almost three decades. When we see an upturn in the economy, 94 cents of every dollar goes to the one percent, what does this mean?"

Jennings told CNBC that wages across the globe need to be increased.

"If we increase the wage level by one percent, and we increase investment levels by one percent, if we refit our economies, re-examine infrastructure, we can put the swagger back, not just in Europe but in the rest of the world," said Jennings.


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