Today is World Day for Decent Work, when the International Trade Union Confederation marks the day in support of decent work for all people of working age across the globe.
This year’s theme is corporate greed – and that couldn’t be more timely. We’ve all seen the cynical ways that multinational companies (MNCs) and the super rich manage to ‘legally’ avoid paying their fair share of taxes. If MNCs paid their fair share the revenue generated could fund decent public services, create decent work and contribute to genuine prosperity for all.
That’s because government matters – and public services matter. The right have spent decades arguing otherwise, but even they are coming around. This week even the Tory Prime Minister acknowledged that the state is a power for good.
And it’s obvious why that argument resonates, in a year that has seen flooding in British towns, earthquakes in Italy, hurricanes in Haiti and the Dominican Republic and bombings in France. As people flee from natural and human-made disasters there are always people running in the direction of danger – public servants who are there to help. Ambulance crews, police, fire fighters, medics all put their lives on the line to help those caught in the path of destruction. If we all paid our taxes instead of using legal loopholes, then public service champions like that and so many others would have the funding they need.
This is a battle we’ll need to fight at home and abroad. Whether it’s teaching assistants in places like Durham and Derby who are fighting against brutal cuts to their wages, FE workers in Scotland taking action to win a fair deal or the global struggle for decent work – we’re all part of the same struggle.
That is why I have sent a goodwill message to our global union PSI, of which I am President, as they meet in Japan this weekend.
I praised the courage of first responders – many of whom are our members in public services around the world. The conference will also launch a campaign today for women’s economic empowerment, as we seek to tackle one of the greatest workplace challenges we still face around the world.
The ‘Fukuoka Statement’ will serve as a roadmap ahead of the next UN commission on the status of women (UNCSW). The UNCSW next year will be an important platform for the trade union movement to raise its demands and put women’s labour rights at the centre of the debate, and continue the fight for decent work and equal pay.
We will be using social media today to get our message across. Join us and show solidarity with working people across the globe.