Trade unions’ intervention during concluding general debate

Riccardo Sanna, of the Italian General Confederation of Labour, delivered a statement on behalf of the Workers and Trade Unions Major Group during the final debate of the High Level Political Forum 2017. The text of the statement is available below.

Mr. Sanna’s intervention begins at 1:18:50

Thank you Chair.

Dear excellences, ladies and gentlemen:

My name is Riccardo Sanna from the Italian General Confederation of Labour, speaking on behalf of the Workers and Trade Unions Major Group.

The SDGs are a trade union issue. Decent work is a driver of sustainable development. It provides a livelihood for workers and their families, reduces inequalities, empowers women and narrows the gender pay gap, and guarantees the enactment of core labour standards.

Ending poverty requires that people have access to decent livelihoods, fairly compensated with living wages to help tackle in-work poverty. It also requires comprehensive social protection systems and floors that support inclusion through adequate income support and quality public services.

Achieving gender equality requires concerted action to transform labour markets for women’s paid and unpaid work, and to close the gender pay gap. The pursuit of gender equality requires measures for the reconciliation of work and family life, particularly through investment in care services.

Achieving healthy and productive lives means that people enjoy decent livelihoods with decent and safe working conditions and universal access to quality health care. Occupational health and safety is key, and governments have a duty to ensure and businesses have an obligation to provide.

Achieving sustainable industrialisation requires a massive transformation in how economies and industries function. A just transition for workers is at the core of this transformation, which aims at setting the right policy goals across environmental, social and economic pillars and securing public financial support and investments for achieving a zero-carbon, zero-poverty future.

The SDGs are a universal agenda, which obliges also my country, Italy, where, like in many developed countries, different dimensions of job precariousness need to be addressed, particularly for youth, women, migrants, and informal workers.

The SDGs will be better achieved in partnership with trade unions at national, regional and global level, fully involving us in SDG consultation with governments, as well as through social dialogue between workers and employers.

Trade union involvement in the SDGs is good for workers and for the general interest. Social protection provides safety nets for everyone. Freedom of association is a precondition for civil society to flourish and be actors of governance. Collective bargaining and workers’ rights are the scaffold for sustainable prosperity.

Trade unions contribute to SDG implementation, and are ready to work in partnership with the UN and its member states to achieve sustainable and inclusive development with decent work, to leave no one behind.

Thank you.

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