Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Statement by the General Confederation of Trade Unions
on the occasion of the World Decent Work Day
October 7, 2019

On or around the 7th of October the international trade union movement will once again mark the World Day for Decent Work (WDDW).
Established in 2008 on the initiative of the International Confederation of Trade Unions, this Day provides a rare opportunity for unions in all countries to display global solidarity in supporting the Decent Work Agenda, which the International Labour Organisation has placed at the forefront of its policies for the foreseeable future. Simultaneously, it is an opportunity to jointly stand up for workers’ rights by urging the world community to find the material and political resources necessary to rid humanity of social evils such as poverty, hunger and malnutrition, disease, unemployment, social exclusion, and unhealthy working and natural environments.
The idea of an annual WDDW is now deeply rooted in the trade union movement of the world, including the countries of our region. On this day, workers' organisations draw the attention of their governments, employers, and policy-makers to the long-overdue need to implement the principles of decent work, namely: provide each worker with a quality job, a fair wage, reliable social protection, a safe working environment, and free enjoyment of their rights - subject to universally recognised international labour standards and principles of social dialogue, respect for the dignity of the working person.
Today, in the age of rapidly advancing information and communication technologies and the impending digitalised economy, the world is still dominated by transnational capital and financial markets that, in pursuit of super-profits, openly and cynically neglect the national interests of states, the needs of the real economy, and the aspirations of millions of people.
Based on corporate greed, the economic model imposed on the world has led to the unprecedented global inequality. Over the past twenty years, the world has become three times richer. However, according to estimates, the bulk of the wealth produced is appropriated by only one per cent of the global population. Unemployment is growing, informal employment is expanding, the earned incomes and social security are falling, while the basic rights of workers and social justice principles are being trampled upon.
These problems are largely characteristic of the situation in our region. Monitoring conducted by the GCTU shows that social stratification and inequality have been growing almost everywhere, and in several countries up to a third of the population live below or near the poverty line. In such conditions, there are increasingly frequent attempts to ‘forget’ comfortably about the social state principles proclaimed in the constitutions. All these challenges are kept in the limelight of GCTU affiliates. Each of them in their respective country or industry is working for effective solution of the issues as part of the implementation of the Decent Work Agenda.
At its congress last December, the ITUC called for a global trade union campaign aiming to fundamentally change the nature of the global economy, and build a fundamentally new economic model that would be able take full account of workers’ interests. As an important step towards this aim, the unions today are promoting the idea of developing a New Social Contract that would provide for a Universal Labour Guarantee.
The ITUC called on trade unions to mark this year’s WDDW under common slogans of mobilising for the accomplishment of these tasks. Particular attention is to be devoted to the issue of increased investment in the care sector. The Confederation believes this should help improve women's employment and, accordingly, achieve gender equality in society.
The General Confederation of Trade Unions underpins these initiatives. We are confident that the global implementation of decent work principles and social justice, based on equal and constructive social dialogue, respect for human rights and compliance with international labour standards, are the only way to build a socially equitable economy.
Based on this, the GCTU encourages its affiliates to get actively involved in this year’s World Day for Decent Work, and decide on the specific forms of activities they could organise, taking into account their real capabilities. These may be outdoor rallies, processions, meetings of work collectives, sittings of trade union statutory bodies, round table discussions, flash mobs, etc.
The main slogans and demands during the forthcoming actions should be put forward with due regard for the specific circumstances or topical problems prevailing in each of the countries or industries, and for the ongoing GCTU campaigns for a minimum wage at least equal to the subsistence minimum, and for ratification and compliance with the most important ILO conventions.
Trade unions must insist that any economic measures affecting workers’ situation should be developed and taken on the basis of respect for decent work principles, in the spirit of constructive social dialogue, and coordination of efforts with social partners and all public forces that care for the well-being of workers in their countries.
Let us support decent work with specific joint actions!
Moscow, 9 September 2019