Thursday, September 10, 2015


Appeal by the General Confederation of Trade Unions
in connection with the World Day for Decent Work
(7 October 2015)
Trade unions of the planet will mark the eighth World Day for Decent Work (WDDW) 7 October 2015.
The idea of holding an annual World Day for Decent Work, launched some time ago by the International Trade Union Confederation, is now deeply rooted in the trade union movement of the world, including the countries where the General Confederation of Trade Unions has its affiliates.
Today, trade unions regard this Day as an opportunity to jointly and globally declare their support for the Decent Work Agenda adopted by the International Labour Organisation in 1999. By organising various activities and events, workers’ organisations are drawing the attention of their governments and employers to the need for providing, in the not too distant future, every person with a quality job, a fair wage, an adequate level of social protection, a safe working environment, and the possibility to freely exercise their rights. The accomplishment of this task would help eradicate worldwide poverty, and ensure decent lives for the working people.
This year’s WDDW will be held in an atmosphere of international tensions generated by the deepening financial and economic crisis that is developing against the background of serious geopolitical controversies. This has brought about the business slowdown, the rise in unemployment, the drop in living standards, the devaluation of several national currencies, and the unprecedented "burst" of migration that threatens to undermine the very foundations of the European Union.
All this is happening against the backdrop of hostilities in the Middle East and armed confrontation in eastern Ukraine, accompanied by an aggravation of interstate relations unheard of since the end of the “Cold War”. In this situation, governments feel tempted to put the solution of pressing social problems on the back burner under the pretext of carrying out anti-crisis measures. Attempts are being made to freeze if not slash social benefits and wages, economise on the improvement of work conditions, and clamp down on the unions. Particularly aggressive are the multinational companies, which prompted the International Confederation of Trade Unions to encourage its affiliates to use the umbrella motto "End Corporate Greed!" in their WDDW campaigns to be organised this year.
The impact of the global economic crisis is to a greater or lesser extent evident in each state where the GCTU has member organisations. The war of sanctions and boycotts declared by the West on Russia, has painfully affected the economies of other CIS states, by virtue of their close economic links with the Russian Federation. This was one of the main reasons for the decline in socio-economic performance, the inflationary surge, devaluation, tensions on the labour market, an increase in hidden unemployment, a drop in real wages, and rising prices of services and consumer goods.
The anti-crisis measures include the austerity policy, with an emphasis on cutting down the incomes of wage and salary earners. In a number of cases, either no provision has been made for wage indexation in 2015, or the sums of wage adjustment are not sufficient to compensate for the rise in consumer prices and utility rates. All this has led to the reduction of real incomes in some countries of the region, and, consequently, to lower living standards for the majority of the population.
While being aware of the gravity of the situation, the GCTU still keeps firmly to its view that ways out of the crisis should not be provided through deteriorating the population’s working and living conditions, and infringing on workers’ and trade unions’ rights. We are confident that during an economic crisis the decent work principles are not devalued, but rather become even more relevant.
The GCTU calls on its affiliates to mark, widely and publicly, this World Day for Decent Work, with due regard for all mentioned factors and trends, as well as specific conditions and pressing socio-economic problems in their countries or industries. We encourage them to insist that any measures to overcome the crisis should be developed and adopted on the basis of respect for the principles of decent work, in the spirit of constructive social dialogue and coordination of efforts with the social partners and all public forces who care about the well-being of working people of their countries.
We are positive that this year’s WDDW will provide new evidence of the commitment of our trade unions to the ideals of the struggle for workers’ rights and interests, against all forms of discrimination, inequality, and social injustice.
General Confederation of Trade Unions