Sophia Kisting, Executive Director of National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH) shares some thoughts on the significance of Decent Work Day.
The World day for Decent Work is commemorated internationally every year on the 7th of October. We at the NIOH wish to mark the day sharing information about Decent Work and support the aspirations for good health and safety, for equality, for social justice and for the protection of human rights for all in their respective worlds of work. Decent work is key to sustainable workplaces, to sustainable development and to sustainable economies.
What is Decent work?
According to the ILO Decent Work encompasses the following:
“Decent work sums up the aspirations of people in their working lives. It involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men.”
What is the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda
Productive employment and decent work are key elements to achieving a fair globalization and poverty reduction. The ILO has developed an agenda for the community of work looking at job creation, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue, with gender equality as a crosscutting objective.
Long before the Decent Work Agenda was launched in 1999, the pressing need for jobs in freedom, dignity, security and equity was clearly stated in the preamble of the ILO’s Constitution – in response to the injustice, hardship and privation that imperilled the world and led to the ILO’s creation in 1919.
Decent work – ILO policy impact
Decent work has become a universal objective and has been included in major human rights declarations, UN Resolutions and outcome documents from major conferences including Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the World Summit for Social Development (1995), World Summit Outcome Document (2005), the high level segment of ECOSOC (2006), the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017), Conference on Sustainable Development (2011) and in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015).
There has been an increased urgency among international policy-makers, particularly in the wake of the global financial and economic crisis of 2008, to deliver quality jobs along with social protection and respect for rights at work to achieve sustainable, inclusive economic growth, and eliminate poverty.
Decent work today
During the UN General Assembly in September 2015, decent work and the four pillars of the Decent Work Agenda – employment creation, social protection, rights at work, and social dialogue – will become integral elements of the new United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Goal 8 of the 2030 Agenda calls for the promotion of sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work, and will be a key area of engagement for the ILO and its constituents. Furthermore, key aspects of decent work are widely embedded in the targets of many of the other 16 goals of the UN’s new development vision.
Leaders’ statements and action plans of the, G7, EU, African Union and other multilateral and regional bodies also confirm the significance of decent work to crisis recovery and sustainable development.
In South Africa and in Africa there is greater consciousness awakening and great support for Decent Work and more and more collaborative efforts are being undertaken to implement the concept within the World of Work. The challenge is to continue to work tirelessly with all role-players to make Decent Work the reality it can be.