This demand recognizes that if we are going to avoid a repeat of the pandemic and respond to the other challenges facing our planet, “going back to normal” isn’t good enough.
Ottawa (07 Oct. 2020) — Around the world trade unionists are marking World Day for Decent Work by calling for a new social contract for recovery and resilience so we can respond to the threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and income inequality.
This demand recognizes that if we are going to avoid a repeat of the pandemic and respond to the other challenges facing our planet, “going back to normal” isn’t good enough. Not good enough because normal has meant the wealthy are allowed to amass an ever-increasing share of the planet’s wealth with no concern that this is making it harder for the vast majority of people to get by and is doing enormous damage to the environment. Instead we need an inclusive and sustainable recovery.
13th World Day for Decent Work
October 7, 2020 will be the 13th World Day for Decent Work. October 7 was designated as World Day for Decent Work in 2008 by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to bring people together to speak out against the impact of decades of policies that put increasing profits for the wealthy ahead of people’s rights and needs.
Since it was established, tens of millions of people have participated in events and actions related to World Day for Decent Work. What will be different this year is that, because of the pandemic, much of the activity will be online.
All Together Now! campaign shows what’s needed in an inclusive, sustainable recovery
For NUPGE members the idea of an inclusive and sustainable recovery to replace a system that has led to increasing income inequality isn’t new. We’ve been campaigning for it for over a decade with our All Together Now! campaign.
During that time, we’ve been talking about what is needed to build a more equal society, to create good jobs and to accomplish those goals in a way that is environmentally sustainable. And the issues we’ve been talking about are the ones that need to be addressed in an inclusive and sustainable recovery.
These include fixing the social safety net, repairing public services through improved funding and and end to privatization. An inclusive and sustainable recovery also requires tax fairness to ensure that an increase in public spending is sustainable over the long-term.
Growing recognition of the need to change direction
Around the world the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the damage done by decades of underfunding public services so the rich could get richer.
In Canada, what has happened with Employment Insurance shows both the opportunity we now have and the challenges we face. The pandemic forced the federal government to recognize that the damage done by decades of cuts to Employment Insurance meant many Canadians were getting no help when they lost their jobs. However, the changes that have been made so far are only temporary.
The challenge is forcing federal and provincial governments to recognize the high cost of austerity policies, whether it is the damage to the economy or the fact they will cause us to fail in our response to climate change and fail to prepare for another pandemic. For both the quality of life it will provide and the long-term cost, an inclusive, sustainable recovery is the most practical, affordable option.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE