The studies reported by Mattas for the mountainous, northern part of Greece showed that, although employment of labour on farms was relatively small and usually only seasonal, that in the processing sector was large. Most of these are drawn from the tobacco communities. This means that any reduction in leaf production has a significant knock-on effect locally. Furthermore, the employment multiplier for tobacco processing is 4.062. This means that for every person losing his or her job in processing, the overall economy will lose 4.062 persons, i.e. one job in tobacco and 3.062 from other sectors. The social consequences of any reduction in leaf production for a country like Greece with 10% unemployment are obvious.
The employment statistics for tobacco in Malawi, reported by Dr Thyangathyanga, were 1.9 million families, each with an average of four members of employable age. This represents nearly 70% of the adult population of the country being dependent on leaf tobacco production and the associated activities down the line.
Jacqueline Baroncini (IUF, Geneva) pointed out that membership of her organisation on the leaf-growing side of the industry is increasing, although large-scale wage employment is seldom the norm in this sector. Job losses in the tobacco industry as a whole are large, mainly because of modernisation of factories and progressive erosion of state monopolies which traditionally had high employment levels. Some jobs are being created in the newly industrialised countries, but these are often cut short by subsequent modernisation.
The UIF defends job security in all situations, including the tobacco industry, but it expects in return a commitment by the industry to defend the future of employment. She was severely critical of labour conditions in the leaf-growing sector of the industry, including issues such as child labour and tenant farmers, and dealt with each in detail. She pleaded for a collaborative effort by all sectors of the industry to put matters right in the context of today’s meaning of ‘social responsibility’. However, she commended the recent initiatives by the ITGA and the major industry members also involved in addressing issues such as child labour, which is being done in close collaboration with the IUF, and other aspects of social responsibility as set out in the policies of industry members.