Wednesday, September 5, 2018

On the 7th of October, 2018, the world trade union movement will mark the eleventh World Day for Decent Work (WDDW). This day has over the years become a successful supplement to the Day of International Workers' Solidarity, a historic holiday celebrated by all organised workers across the world on the 1st of May, when they traditionally take to the streets to confirm their unity and make their basic demands. The WDDW offers an ample opportunity to trade-unionists in all countries to, once again, remind the governments and employers of their fundamental requirements and express their support for the Decent Work Agenda adopted by the International Labour Organisation in 1999.

The ILO Agenda aims to provide all workers in the world with safe quality jobs, decent and fair labour remuneration, and reliable social guarantees, with the full respect of employees’ and trade unions’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining in an atmosphere of democracy, equality and enhanced dignity of working people.
The ILO Decent Work Agenda met with broad support and understanding in the international trade union community. Year after year, WDDW activities have been involving ever growing numbers of participants. Today they have become a unique regular review of the strength and influence of trade unions, their consistent adherence to the ideals of struggles for world workers’ rights and interests.
The need to intensify the union struggles for the rights and interests of working people retains its relevance today. The global financial and economic crisis of 2008 entailed a deep social crisis, whose impact is still felt in most countries of the world, including the region where affiliates of the General Confederation of Trade Unions (GCTU) operate.
Despite the protests by trade unions, the ruling circles and transnational companies continue attempts to overcome the economic difficulties by openly trampling workers’ fundamental interests and rights. The mass unemployment, especially among young people, the impoverishment of working people and pensioners, the ever widening income gaps, the enormous burdens of taxes and payments, and the discrimination against women, migrants and other vulnerable groups have become habitual today.
While advocating in principle social dialogue, the unions are increasingly aware that negotiations, appeals and statements alone will not be sufficient to improve the world situation. More and more often, they have to resort to such forms of struggle as protest actions, rallies, demonstrations, and strikes. Thus, since the beginning of this year, mass strikes of transport workers, power engineers, miners, civil servants, students etc. have swept across many countries in Europe and elsewhere in the world.
The implementation of decent work principles is an acute problem also in our region. Today, our economies are not going through one of their best periods. Almost everywhere the key indicators are deteriorating, inflation is on the increase, the national currencies are depreciating, and services and basic consumer goods are rising in price. Consequently, the real incomes of the population have fallen. In addition, there remains a rather high level of hidden unemployment and informal employment, wages are unreasonably low as compared with the cost of labour, discrimination in the world of work has not been eliminated, and the labour migration situation is alarming. Despite all demands and actions by trade unions, the retirement age is being raised, wage arrears persist, and the social stratification keeps deepening.
The General Confederation of Trade Unions calls on its affiliates to hold their WDDW-2018 events under slogans and requirements most relevant to the workers of their respective country or industry, and help provide for their mass character and wide coverage in the media.
General Confederation of Trade Unions