From the TUC

#WDDW16: Unions calling for decent work around the world

07 Oct 2016, By

Now in its 9th year, World Day for Decent Work (WDDW) is a day set aside by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) for trade unionists and others to reiterate our call not just for jobs at any price but decent jobs, with respect for the people who do them. It’s what trade unionism is about, and goes beyond simply protesting about what’s wrong – although we do that too, as the ITUC theme for the day, End Corporate Greed! shows – but also argues for what’s right.

Decent work is a concept developed by the tripartite International Labour Organisation (ILO), the UN’s workplace agency, and it defines decent work as based on four pillars – more and better jobs, social security, rights at work and social dialogue: unions and employers working together – sometimes with governments – to improve conditions at work.

In Bangladesh, unions still reeling from the latest factory fire have drawn attention to the role decent work can play in delivering the new Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders last year to abolish poverty by 2030. To demonstrate that decent work isn’t just missing in developing countries, in Canada, the Ontario provincial government found in 2013 that approximately 80% of the retail workplaces inspected had violations of the Employment Standards Act, which makes the case for more responsible investment everywhere. And in South Africa, the main trade union confederation COSATU has called on workers to demonstrate today for decent work.

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) is using the day to promote its campaign for higher wages: Europe deserves a pay rise! (“Because we’re worth it” couldn’t be used because we were worried about how L’Oreal’s lawyers might react!) And trade unionists in the capital cities of Europe – including London – have issued a joint declaration that calls for a renewed European social model.

Closer to home, Unite are running a campaign around World Day for Decent Work to encourage members to think about and discuss what decent work means to them, and promoting a call for five basic rights at work developed by their young members: a wage you can live on; safe, secure work; guaranteed hours each week; training, development and career opportunities; and a collective voice and union representation.

So – have a great World Day for Decent Work. Think about what decent work would look like for you and your colleagues. And ask your boss to be a bit more decent too!