World Day for Social Justice

photo: ILO: Crozet M

On World Day for Social Justice, it is time to tackle corporate greed and tax the rich for the good of the many.

The ITUC calls on the international community and national governments to tackle corporate greed, tax avoidance and evasion, price gouging in food and fuel, wage theft and the entrenched informality that keeps two billion people ineligible for social protection.

On behalf of working people, we demand progressive taxes, higher wages and stronger rights to collective bargaining, including the right to strike, as part of a labour protection floor to prevent growing poverty and promote equality for all.

As part of the growing Coalition for Social Justice, which will be launched by ILO Director-General Gilbert Houngbo later this year, and the growing consensus calling for a UN World Social Summit in 2025, the ITUC stresses the role that can be played by:

  • Stronger unions.
  • Investment in skills.
  • Investment in infrastructure.
  • Investment in the care economy, where a modest sum could create 280 million jobs by 2030 and would boost the employment rate of women by 78%.
  • Wider access to care, education, health, and transport through quality public services.

This positive agenda for change requires the promotion of decent work; addressing the growing global debt crisis; closing the gender pay gap that means women earn 20% less than men globally; and raising corporate and personal taxes on the rich.

“Politicians, governments and financial institutions need to tackle the rich to benefit the rest,” said the ITUC Deputy General Secretary Owen Tudor. “There will always be huge numbers of poor people struggling to get by unless we stop predatory pricing, start taxing the rich and end wage theft and anti-union measures.

“We need living wages, universal health care and social protection for all. Trade unions are demanding a New Social Contract to address the inequalities of income, power and wealth, and to deliver social justice for everyone.”

The ITUC is also backing initiatives, such as the UN Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transition with its target of 400 million new jobs by 2030, and tax reforms that include a minimum 25% corporate tax rate and a Financial Transactions Tax to curb speculation.

International momentum for the social justice agenda received a further boost when the UN Commission for Social Development released a resolution on “creating full and productive employment and decent work for all as a way of overcoming inequalities to accelerate the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The resolution stresses the need for long-term policy frameworks for decent job creation, and invites governments “to undertake the necessary adaptations to policies and regulations to support decent work and employment growth” through statutory minimum wages, social dialogue, employment protection legislation and employment law.

The resolution is also clear on the centrality of gender equality in the world of work, calling for policies that address the gender pay gap and gender-based violence, and emphasises the need for care policies and gender-responsive social protection systems.

To mark the World Day for Social Justice, ITUC Deputy President Antônio Lisboa will be speaking at an ILO panel event at 14:00 CET, Monday 20 February. You can follow the event here.