UN SDG Summit: workers demand a New Social Contract to put the world back on track to reach the Sustainable Development Goals

photo: UN DESA (CC BY-SA 4.0)

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow will call on world leaders at the UN in New York this week to recognise that a New Social Contract is required to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals can be met. Burrow will address the heads of state and government gathering in New York on 25 September during the first SDG Summit since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. The Summit is being held amid serious warnings from the UN that the world is off-track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

UPDATE: the video of Sharan Burrow’s speech is now available:

“Inclusive and sustainable development can only be achieved by ensuring that social partners have a say, and that means working people, through their unions, on an equal footing with governments and business. Decades of corporate globalisation have undone the social contract, leaving virtually unfettered power in the hands of multinational corporations and big finance,” says Burrow.

The core of a renewed social contract is set out in the Centenary Declaration of the ILO, adopted in June. The Declaration pledges that all workers should have the right to organise and bargain collectively, and be protected from discrimination, forced labour and child labour. It also recognises that safe and healthy working conditions are fundamental and that there must be adequate minimum wages and maximum limits on working hours. It also calls for social protection to be available to all.

Burrow, who will talk on partnerships for sustainable development, is set to stress the urgent need for a New Social Contract to put the world on track to meet the objectives of the 2030 Agenda. Goal 8 of the SDGs (Decent Work and Sustainable Economic Growth) is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda, providing the basis for attaining the other SDGs and ensuring truly sustainable development that responds to people’s aspiration for social justice, decent work and a decent life.

It is in this context that the ITUC launched the #TimeFor8 campaign earlier this year. It sheds light on the pivotal importance of Goal 8. The campaign puts forward solutions to tackle the environmental, social and economic exploitation that is leading to a global crisis of unprecedented magnitude.

“The clock is ticking. We need to act with urgency and ambition to tackle climate change and deliver social and economic justice that is inclusive and sustainable. World leaders at the UN this week have heard the clear call from future and current generations, and they must find the courage to act,” said Burrow.

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