"Before we send our young people into the work force, we should feel confident they will be guaranteed basic worker protections."
"The struggle for decent work
I bet you didn’t know Oct. 7 was proclaimed World Day for Decent Work by the International Trade Union Confederation, which has 311 national affiliates and represents 168 million workers in 155 countries.
So what is decent work? The International Labour Organization defines it as productive work for women and men in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.
- Provides security in the workplace and social protection for workers and their families;
- Offers better prospects for personal development and encourages social integration;
- Gives people the freedom to express their concerns, to organize and to participate in decisions that affect their lives; and
- Guarantees equal opportunities and equal treatment for all.
What is Saskatchewan doing to promote and to ensure its citizens have decent work? With legislation like Bills 5 and 6, which make it more difficult to organize and to bargain as unions, we are definitely moving in the opposite direction.
The Sask. Party government wants to lower the minimum working age for children working in hotels, educational institutions, hospitals and nursing homes from 16 to 15. Children as young as 14 will be able to work with parental consent in those sectors.
Any union activist from the service or healthcare sectors will tell you these are some of the most dangerous places to work, as demonstrated by the high number of injury claims the Workers’ Compensation Board receives every year from workers in these industries.
Ask any young person about the service industry and whether or not basic labour standards, like minimum call-out pay, are met. The restaurant industry has a reputation for ripping off its young workers.
Of course young people want the opportunity to gain skills and experience in the workplace and to earn some money. They deserve that opportunity. But before we send younger and younger people into that workforce, shouldn’t we feel confident that they will be guaranteed basic worker protections? And that they will be free to join a union in order to organize for those protections?
As a labour movement, we struggle to ensure decent work for everyone. Our government should be doing the same."
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
The struggle for decent work
Reproduced below is the lead article from the most recent issue of the SFL Labour Reporter (Dec 2008). You can download a copy of the complete Labour Reporter issue (in PDF format) by clicking here....