The Guardian November 15, 2000

Globalisation stress

Following the years of globalisation, one common problem among many 
which workers around the world are facing is a record level of stress. This 
was brought out by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in a recent 

According to the ILO report, "workers worldwide confront, as never before, 
an array of new organisational structures and processes which can affect 
their mental health".

Downsizing, lay-offs, mergers, work contracts and rise in productivity 
demands have taken their toll in the past 10 years, pushing many workers 
into nervous break-downs, the report says.

Based on a study of the UK, USA, Germany, Finland and Poland, the report 
raises fears that the problems facing the workers in those countries are 
likely in other countries as well.

According to the ILO report, heart disease and depression are the two most 
common problems the workers are facing. These are set to grow as new 
technologies multiply.

Workers are often left grappling with a series of complex mental disorders 
for years.

The report warns that anxiety levels are going to dramatically rise in the 
coming years with the march of globalisation, and that the cost to 
businesses will be massive.

As much as four per cent of the European Union's Gross Domestic Product is 
spent on treating the workers suffering stress and mental illness.

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