October 7 World Day for Decent Work – Get the World to Work

With four weeks to go until the World Day for Decent Work on October 7, ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder has issued a call to action headed “Get the World to Work” to encourage participation in the worldwide mobilisation to tackle the global economic and employment crisis and ensure fundamental reform of the world economy. Trade unions in every region are gearing up for their October 7 activities, with organisations from more than 30 countries having already posted information on their events onto the special website.

“This crisis, caused by speculation, greed and lax financial regulation, is costing millions of jobs and wreaking havoc on the lives of working people in every country. Millions more are stuck in precarious work, and fundamental rights to union representation and collective bargaining are being wound even further back in many countries. Job losses are going to continue into 2010, and it may take much longer to get back to pre-crisis employment levels unless governments act together and with determination to build productive investment and ensure the financial markets are properly regulated,” said Ryder.

With the leaders of the world’s largest economies meeting at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh on 25 September, just two weeks before the World Day for Decent Work, the international trade union movement is pushing hard for measures to secure global respect for fundamental rights at work and to achieve sustainable economic growth, effective finance reforms, social justice and development. Action on climate change through investment in green jobs and “just transition” for workers affected by the shift to a low-carbon economy is also at the top of the union list of concerns.

“The G20 statement issued from the London Summit in April opened the way for real progress on these issues, but movement has been slow, and there is a real concern that governments may be swayed by narrow but powerful interests calling for a return to “business as usual”. We are determined to stop this happening, and a delegation of top level international trade union leaders will be in Pittsburgh to press our case with the presidents and prime ministers attending the summit,” said Ryder.

The October 7 events will be a vital opportunity to build public support for the trade union global reform agenda, and remind governments of their responsibility to govern in the interests of the many instead of returning to the unregulated free market policies which led to the financial crisis.

On October 7 last year, more than 600 World Day for Decent Work activities were organised by 216 national trade union organisations in 130 countries, with several hundred thousand people taking part in rallies, workplace meetings and special events throughout the day.