Friday, August 18, 2017


Appeal by the GCTU in connection with the 10th Anniversary 
of the World Day for Decent Work
On the 7th of October 2017, trade unions all over the Earth will for the tenth time observe the World Day for Decent Work (WDDW). The idea of making this Day an annual event was set forth a decade ago by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and found an immediate wide response in the world’s trade union community, including the affiliated organisations of the General Confederation of Trade Unions (GCTU). Along with the Day of International Workers' Solidarity May 1, the WDDW has become an integral part of the global trade union struggle for labour rights and freedoms, higher living standards for all people, and eliminating poverty and hunger, and against inequality, social exclusion and discrimination.
The Word Day for Decent Work gives trade unions of all countries a unique opportunity to simultaneously declare their support for the Decent Work Agenda adopted by the International Labour Organisation in 1999 and recognised by the UN and global civil society as a mainstream goal of sustainable development.
Over the past ten years, hundreds of millions of workers throughout the world have taken part in solidarity actions organised in connection with the WDDW. They have been drawing the attention of their governments and employers, the entire world community to the need to provide, in a foreseeable future, each person with a quality job, a fair salary, an adequate level of social security, safe working conditions, free exercise of their rights in the spheres of labour relations and social policy, and a healthy natural environment.
The General Confederation of Trade Unions welcomed and supported the ITUC initiative from the outset, and since then, on its call, the region’s unions have regularly observed the WDDW on a large scale. Under the umbrella of GCTU-proposed slogans and mottos, its affiliates have held numerous solidarity actions for decent work, social justice, and international labour standards.
The International Trade Union Confederation has proposed that the 10th WDDW Anniversary should be observed under banners demanding higher wages and, above all, a rise in the minimum pay. The unions are convinced that, without achieving this goal, no advance towards decent work will be possible. In a broader sense, this is a call to fight poverty and, in particular, the impoverishment of the working person.
In today’s world, with one per cent of people owning far more wealth than the rest of the planet's population, the issue of low wages is acute even in economically developed countries. The Global Poll conducted by the ITUC this year, shows that 80 percent of those surveyed believe the minimum wages in their countries to be too low, while 71 per cent are convinced that governments should seriously consider pay rises.
According to the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the last 20 years saw productivity in the European Union increasing by an average of 30 per cent, while wages by only 20 per cent. And this has been the trend for many decades. Given the situation, the ETUC launched a broad-scale campaign "European workers need a pay rise - it's time for OUR revival!"  Meanwhile, the global unions demand that the widening income gap should be matched with measures to increase wages through legislation, collective bargaining, and progressive taxation.
A slowdown in the growth of both nominal and real wages has been the main trend also in the labour markets of our region. The solidarity campaign waged by the GCTU for over ten years to make the minimum wages at least equal to the subsistence minimum has produced some positive results. However, in most of the region’s countries the minimum wage has yet to reach the subsistence minimum level of the able-bodied person, and in several states the minimal pay has not been revised for years. All this is a serious factor contributing to the preservation and expansion of the scope of poverty.
In this context, the General Confederation of Trade Unions invites its affiliates to take up the ITUC proposal and actively observe the 10th Anniversary of the World Day for Decent Work by organising, on or around October 7, different solidarity events and other actions in support of decent work. Simultaneously, we call on them to focus largely on the package of outstanding labour remuneration problems, and, in particular, to: 
- demand that wages be brought up to a level providing a comfortable living for workers and their families;
- express solidarity with the ongoing GCTU campaign "Minimum Wage not Lower than the Subsistence Minimum!»;
- rebuff the unlawful attempts to incorporate compensatory, stimulating or other payments into the minimum wage structure;
- insist on the ratification of ILO Conventions No. 117 concerning Basic Aims and Standards of Social Policy and No. 131 concerning Minimum Wage Fixing;
- urge the governments and employers to put an immediate end to the non-payment of wages and salaries, and strictly comply with ILO Convention No. 95 concerning the Protection of Wages ratified by all countries of the region;
- demand social justice in the sphere of incomes in full accord with the principles set forth in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Poverty Eradication Initiative, one of the seven centenary initiatives adopted by the International Labour Organisation to commemorate its 100th Anniversary in 2019.
- insist that any measures relating to wages and or other socio-economic issues be developed and adopted based on the respect for the principles of decent work, in the spirit of constructive social dialogue, and coordination of efforts with social partners.
We are positive that the marking of the 10th WDDW in the countries of our region will provide new evidence of the commitment of the GCTU and its affiliates to the traditions and ideals of solidarity in the struggle waged by the international trade union movement for the rights and interests of employees, and against all forms of social injustice.
General Confederation of Trade Unions
17 August 2017