Decent work, democracy and peace are at the core of the ITUC’s priorities for the Summit of the Future

Decent work, democracy, and peace are central to the International Trade Union Confederation’s (ITUC) agenda for the upcoming Summit of the Future. The ITUC emphasises the need for an inclusive, democratic, and rights-based multilateral system to deliver a new social contract, aligning with the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda and promoting social dialogue for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The ITUC, representing the Major Group of Workers and Trade Unions at the United Nations, has outlined workers’ priorities for the Summit of the Future, scheduled for 22-23 September 2024. Described as a once-in-a-generation opportunity, this event aims to unite world leaders to enhance implementation of key international agreements, including the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ILO Fundamental Conventions, and the 2030 Agenda.

The ITUC’s document, which has been published on the UN’s website, highlights the necessity for UN reform to improve accountability, effectiveness, and policy coherence. It calls for adopting the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda and engaging social partners at global, regional, and national levels. This approach is vital to address unequal power and wealth distribution and boost the SDGs’ execution.

The Confederation also focuses on the foundational role of peace, democracy, and rights in achieving the SDGs. It proposes a new social contract to guarantee inclusive societies, social protection, fair wages, and fundamental labour rights. Furthermore, the ITUC advocates for the universal adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and reallocating public funds from weaponry to social infrastructure.

Investing in sectors with high potential for decent job creation for youth is another priority. The ITUC supports meaningful youth participation in decision-making and trade unions’ role in organising and representing young workers, enhancing their presence in social dialogue and collective bargaining.

Additionally, the ITUC urges governments to facilitate just transitions, including moving from informal to formal employment across sectors and establishing universal social protection systems.

In response to the growing impact of digitalisation and generative AI in the workplace, the ITUC promotes a comprehensive approach prioritising workers’ rights, digital privacy, and inclusive access. This includes a focus on gender equality and sustainability, and strategies for skills development and lifelong learning to overcome structural barriers and integrate workers into digitally advanced economies.

Lastly, the ITUC emphasises the need for increased financial resources, calling for reforms to the International Financial Architecture, including a democratic global tax system and changes to the sovereign debt system. This is to ensure adequate and timely debt relief for needy countries and more democratic, responsive Bretton Woods institutions to developing countries’ needs.

The ITUC remains engaged in the lead-up to the Summit, expressing regret over the restricted access to discussions among Member States, limiting non-governmental actors’ voices and democracy.

Read the ITUC’s submission: Trade Union Priorities for the UN “Pact for the Future”