Toronto – October 5, 2017 – Each year on October 7, the World Day for Decent Work joins workers and organizations around the world in a call for equity, fairness, and opportunity that comes through decent work. Decent work is a job that provides workers with the income and opportunity to live a stable and secure life in which basic needs are met.
Decent work is productive employment in a workplace that respects equity, security, and human dignity. It is work that provides a fair and stable income and social protection for workers and their families. Decent work is also a workplace that allows workers to express their concerns, and have a voice in decisions that affect their work, their safety, and their future.
Throughout the 20th century, decent work was created through the collective action of the labour movement, which provided millions of workers a collective voice to achieve a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities. This work lifted many out of poverty, provided stable income, and afforded workers the opportunity to retire with dignity. Indeed, the connection between decent work and a unionized workplace has meant a better life, healthier communities, and a stronger Canada.
Shamefully, the definition of decent work for many employers and governments increasingly means work that is precarious, unstable, under-paid, and non-unionized. This indecent agenda is accelerating inequality by concentrating wealth in the hands of Canada’s richest citizens.
That is why UFCW Canada, together with our friends and allies in the labour movement, continues to push for fair employment standards and labour laws that put workers and their families first.
In Ontario, our union’s support for the Ontario Federation of Labour’s “Make It Fair” campaign has led to commitments from the provincial government to enact a $15 minimum wage, mandate equal pay for equal work, increase vacation and personal leave entitlements, and enhance union rights for some sectors.
In Alberta, labour’s calls for progressive employment reforms have brought about changes to the minimum wage, health and safety coverage for farm workers, and new laws that make it easier for workers to join a union.
And in B.C., pressure from trade unions has succeeded in compelling the new provincial government to immediately raise the minimum wage and examine ways to make the province’s labour laws fairer for workers across B.C.
Evidently, solidarity and community action are vital to creating and sustaining decent work for everyone. As Canada's leading and most progressive workers' organization, we join in international solidarity on the “World Day of Decent Work”– to fight back against the precarious agenda and replace it with a decent work agenda as the foundation of a fair, decent, and thriving country.
Paul R. Meinema