EAL lessons for unionists
Lesson 1

The World Day for Decent Work

Duration: 4'52'

Lesson 1 Script:

This is a RadioLabour English as an Additional Language lesson. I am Marc Belanger.

October 7, 2023 is the World Day for Decent Work. The Day has been established to help working people around the world earn a wage that they and their families can live on. It is also a day unionists use to remind people of the need for workplaces that are safe and respect the equality of all workers.

The theme for this year’s World Day for Decent Work is that “It is time for a pay rise”. Many unions and labour organizations are supporting this idea.

The labour organisation which is organizing the day at the global level is the International Trade Union Confederation. The ITUC represents national union centres such as the Bangladesh Free Trade Union Congress and the All-Ukrainian Union of Workers' Solidarity. The ITUC has almost 200 million members in 167 countries.

The reason for this year’s theme that working people need wage increases is because of the rate of inflation in many countries. The ITUC said in a news release that working people are suffering because of inflation that is caused by huge profit-making by corporations. The corporations are being supported by governments all around the world.

This attack on working rights and decent wages is especially hard on women. The gender pay gap is the difference in wages between men and women. It shows that women still earn about 20 per cent less than men. That gap is even worse in many countries.

Meanwhile, the right of working people to be represented by a labour union which could help them is being attacked. Also their right to strike is being denied. To see how badly unions and their members are being treated read the ITUC’s Global Rights Index. An internet link to the Index is provided below.

Luc Triangle is the Acting General Secretary of the ITUC. He said in the news release that what is needed is a New Social Contract.

A social contract is the agreement between governments, employers, labour organisations and citizens on how a country should be run. The ITUC says that a new social contract should include five topics:

1. A Just Transition to greener, more sustainable jobs.

2. Acceptance of the Centenary Declaration of the International Labour Organization for maximum working hours, minimum wages, safety and more.

3. A Global Social Protection Fund to provide pensions, maternity leave, unemployment insurance and other benefits for countries who cannot afford them.

4. Equality at work and in society to end discrimination by gender, race and other reasons.

5. Inclusion action to help developing countries improve their economies and create fair taxation systems.

The International Labour Organization is the organisation which sets minimum working standards that countries can put into their legal systems. The ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It fights for Social Justice all over the world.

Mr. Triangle said: “Wages are central to the New Social Contract and are the basis for sustainable and equitable economies. It is time for a pay rise”.

This has been a RadioLabour English as an Additional Language programme. I’m Marc Belanger. Good luck with your studies – we need you in the labour movement. And remember: it’s all about global solidarity.


International Trade Union Confederation

World Day for Decent Work

ITUC Global Index

A New Social Contract

International Labour Organization

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