Within the first quarter of the 21st Century, several countries across the world would have had to respond to various changes in their political, economic and social landscape. First world, developing and third world countries have all had to cope with the consequences of globalization and the introduction of new technologies including mobile and digital technologies. These have transformed how the world community communicates and operates.
While there have been some positive outcomes from these new initiatives, political leaders, corporate business interests, employers, employees and the average citizen have had much to concern themselves with and to think about. Right across the globe, there is seemingly a growing fear factor. This fear has been occasioned by the rising tide of competition and the quest for power, authority, control and dominance in one form or fashion.
It would seem that these elements have begun to take root in the psyche and actions of people. These elements, along with a growing wave of terrorism, crime, violence, and the incidence of corruption at all levels within the society, have contributed to a virtual transformation of the world into a place of crisis. With the increasing tensions pervading our societies, there is an urgent need to find immediate solutions to stem declining standards, the move away from standing for principles, observing ethical behaviours, retreating from the embrace of values and observing best practices.
It would seem that the traditional workplace has been severely impacted by these developments. For example, the trend is now to promote entrepreneurship, self-employment and home working. The introduction of these new forms of work have the potential to limit the traditional way of organizing by labour unions. Added to this, these issues contribute to compromising the collective bargaining process.
With persons entering into non-traditional forms of employment, many countries are faced with the problem of capturing persons within their tax net. They are also confronted with the problem of crime and violence which, in some ways, may have an association with the kinds of work which some persons undertake. The use of social media has also had its part to play in putting work life under siege. It may also be argued that social media have exposed many and placed a demand for greater levels of transparency and accountability.
If the problems which are emanating are to be addressed, it is for the political directorate, trade unionists, the business community and civil society to recognize that they must all shoulder their share of responsibility in an effort to find meaningful and workable solutions. There is nothing to be gained from promoting parochial and/or self-interest, while there is a pressing need to focus on finding solutions to national problems.
It is correct to state that solutions are not tailor-made, and in some instances, harsh decisions and sacrifices may have to be made. In the quest to find solutions, it is necessary to have research data and other relevant information available on which to make informed decisions. It also requires that there is a well thought out action plan, which embodies effective strategies and time lines.
It is important that consideration is given to the cost implications of putting the plan into effect, and to identifying some measurements in order to gauge the success of the initiatives undertaken. Since there is no guarantee of a quick fix, those who are desirous of seeing immediate results ought to understand that this is not always the case, and in any event, there is sometimes a sacrifice to make or a price to pay for a quick fix.