Workers and unions have an important role to play in fighting for fair globalization and sustainable development. Global unions and international organizations are working on an overall framework for promoting better working conditions on the global level.
The ILO Decent Work Agenda spells out a vision for reducing poverty and bringing fair and equitable work to people around the world. This plan goes beyond labor standards to include an increase in employment opportunities, social protection, and the importance of social dialogue.
The ILRF supports the Decent Work Agenda through its campaign to Create a Sweatfree World. This campaign seeks to challenge sweatshop conditions globally, to change global trade rules, and to enforce existing legal protections for workers in order to ensure their chances to gain decent work.
The Decent Work Agenda was initiated by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in October 2000 as a way of highlighting the role that good working conditions play in promoting development and poverty reduction. The ILO has since launched pilot programs in various ILO member countries to implement strategies related to employment promotion, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue. [Click here for an overview of the ILO]
According to the ILO: “Decent work… involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men… [Decent Work] is central to efforts to reduce poverty, and a means for achieving equitable, inclusive and sustainable development.”
To encourage nations to implement the Decent Work Agenda, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and other global unions and organizations launched a campaign at the World Social Forum in Nairobi in January 2007 called Decent Work Decent Life. The alliance behind this campaign has developed a Call to Action which they are presenting to governments and institutions around the world and it can be read online here.
World Day for Decent Work is celebrated every year on October 7 to call attention to the Decent Work Agenda. Labor advocates around the world will hold events around the themes of Rights at Work, Solidarity and Ending Poverty and Inequality. The global event provides an opportunity for us to envision a world where everyone can have a job that enables them to live a good life in which their basic needs are met.
Check out the video link on the right of this page to hear ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder explain World Day for Decent Work.
The ITUC and the Global Union Federations (GUFS) have joined together on the Decent Work, Decent Life for Women Campaign. This campaign works to advocate decent work for women and gender equality in labor policies and agreements and to seek gender equality in trade union structures, policies and activities. The two year campaign was launched on International Women’s Day (March 8) in 2008 and focuses on sectors like Export Processing Zones, domestic work, part-time workers, migrant workers and the informal economy.
For more information, please visit these websites:
Decent Work for All ILO page
Decent Work ILO theme page
Decent Work Decent Life
World Day for Decent Work
Decent Work, Decent Life for Women Campaign