ITUC to the UN Commission for Social Development: A new social contract is possible and necessary

The ITUC presented its proposals for full and decent employment to the United Nations’ Commission for Social Development. The intervention took place during the high-level discussion on ways to overcome inequalities and accelerate both the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, which was held on 6 February in the frame of the 61st session of the Commission.

Paola Simonetti, Director of the Equality department at the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), spoke about the priorities and strategies of the global trade union movement to address the multiple crises that the world is facing, such as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global economic slowdown, increased inequalities within and between countries, attacks on democracy, and climate change. The ITUC is proposing to address these challenges by establishing a new social contract based in a gender-transformative agenda for recovery and resilience.

This would require governments to take responsibility and lay out plans for increased public investments in key economic sectors to generate employment such as the care economy, the green economy, and sustainable infrastructure. Such investments must also be gender-transformative and contribute to boost women’s inclusion and fair participation in the labour market, setting the basis for more equitable societies.

To conclude, Simonetti reminded the audience that, in his report to the Commission, the UN secretary general has stressed that investing in strengthening freedom of association and collective bargaining, tripartite cooperation and social dialogue is integral to social inclusion and the promotion of decent work for all.

“We would add that by bringing together social partners and institutions, social dialogue is a pillar to grant fundamental freedoms and strong institutions as prescribed by SDG 16,” stated Simonetti.

ITUC asks were directly reflected in the Resolution of the 61th Commission on Social Development discussing decent work and full employment (February 2023). The Resolution recognised the role of integrated long-term policy frameworks to achieve decent work for all, including statutory or negotiated minimum wages, equal pay for work of equal value, labour protection for all workers , eradication of gender-based violence, universal age-, disability-, gender- responsive social protection systems and the care economy as key tools to accelerate action towards SDG 8 and the overall the 2030 Agenda.