Since 2008, trade unions across the world have marked 7th October as World Day for Decent Work (WDDW). Called by the International Trade Union Congress, a global federation of unions that represent many millions of members, WDDW is an opportunity to highlight that government’s cannot repair and grow economies without creating decent jobs for ordinary people like you. In doing this, we highlight the role of trade unions like UNISON in ensuring that work remains at a decent standard, and fighting against a race to the bottom in terms of pay and conditions.
This year’s WDDW was themed around ending corporate greed, including the refusal to pay a fair share of taxes. UNISON has been vocal in supporting efforts to curb tax avoidance as UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis explained:
Avoiding tax is morally wrong, and pulls vital funds away from public services under pressure – not just at home but around the world. I’ve spoken out before on the global failure to tackle tax avoidance – especially from multinationals – and as a public service union, this is an issue that UNISON take incredibly seriously.
Because UNISON members deliver public services, when companies fail to pay taxes, this reduces government revenue and directly impacts on the funding available to our employers. This of course trickles down to us as job cuts and redundancies, but also in other ways less visible, such as increased workloads, worry about provision for service users and high levels of occupational stress.
That’s why in the run up to the 7th October, UNISON branches ran a social media campaign highlighting the many, many factors that contribute to making work decent. UNISON members in Hampshire, Portsmouth Health, Portsmouth City, Fareham, Southampton District, Hampshire Health and Southampton Hospitals branches took the time to submit photos holding speech bubbles. These bubbles outlined what they thought made work decent and were widely shared in the week leading up to WDDW, showing that while there were many factors that made work decent, UNISON members across diverse workplaces and sectors had the same issues.
At the same time, organisers and reps took the conversation off line with a series of stalls across workplaces covered by Hampshire, University of Southampton, University of Surrey, Fareham and Andover, Winchester and Basingstoke branches. These stalls featured special voting boxes, where staff in these workplaces could vote on what they thought was the most important factor in making work decent.
Although WDDW is over until next year, organising to make sure that your work is decent continues all year round. Visit the UNISON website for information on the campaigning UNISON is doing to defend services and public service jobs. https://www.unison.org.uk/our-campaigns/