Trade union organisations all over the world mobilised on the occasion of World Day for Decent Work, organised every 7 October, by the International Trade Union Confederation.
More than 400 activities, in almost 100 countries, were organised around three major demands with a view to economic recovery:
- Growth and decent jobs, and not austerity, are essential to combat the crisis and finally put an end to it;
- Quality public services are vital for a decent life and must not be sacrificed in the name of fiscal consolidation;
- The financial sector must pay for the damage that it has caused.
One of the messages sent out by the ITUC on the World Day for Decent Work was that the challenges facing the world at present cannot serve as a pretext for threatening and weakening internationally recognised working standards. It is up to trade union organisations to halt the drift towards precarious employment and insecurity and to fight relentlessly against attacks on workers’ rights wherever they occur.
Among the events on 7 October were 50 actions in Japan; marches, conferences and meetings of young people in several African countries and meetings and mobilisations across Russia and Ukraine.
Among the actions organised in Latin America, some initiatives taken by the trade unions of Peru and Chile were aimed at obtaining official recognition by the government of the World Day for Decent Work.
These events followed mass demonstrations in Europe, a major march in the United States involving trade unions, civil society associations and human rights groups on 2 October, and actions carried out by education unions around the world on 5 October, World Teachers’ Day.
Workers throughout the world spoke with one voice on the occasion of the third mobilisation of this annual event to protest against the results of more than two decades of deregulation: growing insecurity, immense inequalities and the downward spiral brought about by world competition, which places profits above the fundamental rights of human beings.
ITUC General Secretary, Sharan Burrow, said: “The financial elites, whose greed, speculation and casino capitalism are at the root of the crisis, must contribute and pay something back. This third annual World Day for Decent Work is the culmination of 10 days of union mobilisation covering all the continents. It will increase pressure on governments to put in place positive solutions to the crisis, instead of simply slashing government spending to satisfy money markets.”
By Matthieu Debroux, International Trade Union Confederation