Justin Welby, is supporting British Unions in calling for economic justice – and sees that local organising, solidarity and personal involvement can make a difference.
He is calling out places where “the profit motive leads to the weakest being given the most risk and the strongest the most protection”. Unions, he says, stand to offer hope to the vulnerable and the weak.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has been speaking at the TUC’s Congress, which also marks the TUC’s 150th Anniversary.
The Archbishop says that he is heartened by Mary’s song in Luke’s Gospel, which describes a God who ‘has brought down the mighty from their thrones’. The truth is that power and influence are not zero-sum games: “when we seek the common good all benefit”.
He cites the gig economy and zero-hour contracts as examples of economic practice that have the potential to be ‘an ancient evil’. “Not paying taxes speaks of an absence of commitment to our shared humanity.” In UK society today, he sees ‘oppression of minorities, division, instability and economic injustice marching together’.
People of justice must be present in workplaces and industries. People bring affection, relationship, and conversation: it needs more than on-line campaigns and social media networks. “There must be unions in the gig economy.. there must be unions in industries being automated..”
To make a difference we need a partnership between government, civil society, churches, and businesses.
Justin Welby’s full speech is available here.
The IPPR Commission on Economic Justice is available here