Today is the International Trade Union Confederation’s World Day for Decent Work 2010; while tonight sees Shappi Khorsandi join Philosophy Football for the TUC’s Stand up for Decent Work event. I’ve joined with a bunch of other bloggers over at Bloggers Unite to celebrate it.
What’s interesting about the Day is that it’s not about standing up for labour rights on behalf of someone else, in some other country – important though that is, too. It is, on the other hand, about standing up for your own rights, right here, in your own country. However, you want to define ‘decent work’, it doesn’t matter – what counts is that you do something to recognise the need to strive for it. And that, at the same time, you call to mind that, all over the globe, other trade unionists are doing the same to move the principle of ‘decent work’ forwards as well.
As trade unionists, we know that no social advance ever falls into your lap – whether it be (more) equal pay, union recognition or decent wages. What we do sometimes forget, however, is that, unless we continue to keep pushing forwards, not only do we not make further gains, we’re also likely to lose the progress that we’ve already made.
As the ConDems make the final preparations for their Spending Review, which will see departmental budgets cut by 25-40%; as call-me-Dave starts to repeat the ‘there is no alternative’ mantra of his Tory predecessor as Prime Minister but one, while his Foreign Secretary starts to retreat into a Little Englander mentality; and as paying for the costs of the crisis is lumped not on those that caused it but on the shoulders of ordinary working people, we need to remember that an alternative worth achieving is one that has to be fought for.