DECENT WORK AND THE MDGS: KEEPING THE PROMISE

International Federation of Workers’ Education Associations

IFWEA Member and Global Network Arab Region Coordinator, Mira Said, of the Democracy and Workers Rights Centre (DWRC), was one of the speakers at the event. Conny Reuter of Solidar was the moderator. Other speakers were Yonnec Polet, Global Progressive Forum; Jane Stewart, Director, International Labour Organization; Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Georgina Opoku Amankwah, ITUC – Africa Women’s Committee.

Conny Reuter emphasised the need for Decent Jobs as an important means to get people out of poverty and to achieve the MDGs. Although we are still a long way from achieving full and productive employment for all, the campaign for Decent Work has been successful in making it part of the global agenda. The issue of Social Protection was also highlighted.

Sharan Burrow emphasised ITUC’s commitment to civil society and will be appointing a person to liaise with civil society. Mira Said spoke about the Decent Work agenda in Palestine and Jordon, what have been achieved so far and what still has to be done. In Jordan, Morrocan migrant workers earned high wages, but faced many other problems. In Palestine, there were many programmes for social security, but these were not sustainable. Georgina Opoku Amankwah spoke about the situation in Ghana where the absence of social protection schemes, were particularly hard for the unemployed or those employed in the informal economy. Trade unions in Ghana amended their constitutions to allow people in the informal economy to affiliate. Yonnec Polet said that Decent Work promotion in the European Parliament was well accepted and recognised, but not implemented. Social protection and labour rights were increasingly under attack by conservative governments in Europe.

Pakistan is currently in the grips of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. According to Khalid Mahmood, Director of IFWEA affiliate, Labour Education Foundation (LEF), the floods destroyed large parts of rural Pakistan, displacing more that 20 million people. These people, of whom 40% lived below the poverty line of $2 per day even before the floods, lost everything: their homes, crops and livestock. Children and women were especially badly affected due to lack of drinking water, food, sanitation and health care. With winter approaching, people are facing a slow death, unless action is taken to alleviate their plight.

UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, urged the world to speed up aid efforts to Pakistan. \\\”This has been a heart-wrenching day for me,\\\” Ban said after flying over some of the worst-hit areas. \\\”I will never forget the destruction and suffering I have witnessed today. In the past I have witnessed many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like this.\\\” Click here to read press report.

LEF launched a Relief Campaign to assist flood. So far they have raised 2 million rupees which are used to support communities with food, medicine, the construction of homes and to rebuild livelihoods. They appeal to all trade unions to assist them in their campaign.

YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT
According to the ILO, the world economic crisis has spurred a record increase in youth unemployment. Global youth unemployment has reached its highest level on record, and is expected to increase through 2010, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said in a new report issued to coincide with the launch of the UN International Youth Year on 12 August.
The report ILO Global Employment Trends for Youth 2010 – [pdf 3310 KB] says that of some 620 million economically active youth aged 15 to 24 years, 81 million were unemployed at the end of 2009 — the highest number ever. The youth unemployment rate increased from 11.9 percent in 2007 to 13.0 percent in 2009.
It adds that these trends will have “significant consequences for young people as upcoming cohorts of new entrants join the ranks of the already unemployed\\\” and warns of the \\\”risk of a crisis legacy of a ‘lost generation’ comprised of young people who have dropped out of the labour market, having lost all hope of being able to work for a decent living\\\”.
Click here to read the full press release.

WORLD DAY FOR DECENT WORK – 7 OCTOBER 2010
Following a decision of the 2nd ITUC World Congress in Vancouver, Canada, the ITUC is to convene the 3rd World Day for Decent Work (WDDW), 7 October 2010. In previous years, the WDDW has involved millions of trade unionists in action for Decent Work, and in today’s conditions of crisis it is more important than ever for trade unionists across the globe stand up for their rights to decent work and a decent life.

Three core messages for the WDDW this year are:
– Growth and decent jobs, not austerity, are essential to beating the crisis and ending poverty;
– Quality public services are essential for a decent life and must not be slashed in the name of fiscal consolidation; and,
– The financial sector must pay for the damage it has caused and be made to serve the real economy and real human needs.

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