On October 7 every year, trade unions on every continent mark World Day for Decent Work, which is the foundation of a decent life and contribution to society. Achieving decent work for workers lies at the core of trade union activity and is one the most important goals reached through members’ mobilisation.
However, while in some countries workers enjoy decent working conditions, in some others, both at the global and at European level, this doesn’t occur, with fundamental rights being scrapped by employers every day. Most frequently, corporate greed and the global supply chain model that dominates the world economy lie behind precarious work, exploitation, absence of social protection for workers, and first and foremost, low wages. At the heart of this trend is too often a refusal to recognise or to negotiate with trade unions, and sometimes even impeding trade union membership. Without organising together, workers are powerless to ensure decent work pay and conditions.
This year WDDW focuses on End Corporate Greed and calls for a global pay rise. Today we can call out some of the European and global offenders, several of them being amongst the largest employers of EFFAT’s workers.
McDonald’s, the fast-food chain. In some countries, McDonald’s are decent employers, in others they are not. In Denmark, they negotiate with all workers at corporate and franchised stores, they pay more than €15 per hour, give guaranteed hours per month, pay more per hour for overtime and offer paid vacation beyond the legal requirement. In France, they negotiate only with their corporate store workers, pay almost €10 per hour, stipulate the normal hours of work, and pay extra per hour for overtime. In the UK, McDonald’s do not have a collective agreement with workers and do not negotiate with a union over working conditions. As a result, pay is lower than in Denmark and France, there are no guaranteed hours for their more than 80,000 workers on zero-hour contracts and there is no extra pay for overtime.
Commenting on World Day of Decent Work, Harald Wiedenhofer, EFFAT General Secretary, said: ‘As trade unions we can’t accept that wealthy multinationals are perpetuating abusive employment practices, poor working conditions, tax avoidance and anti-union behaviours. As the largest employers they should lead by example and guarantee at least a living wage for workers everywhere’.
It’s for all of these reasons that this year the trade unions’ slogans for World Day of Decent Work – on October 7 – are ‘end corporate greed’ and ‘the world needs a pay rise’. To achieve that pay rise we need strong trade unions sitting down at the table with employers to collectively bargain for pay and conditions. It’s the minimum working people deserve – in Europe, in Asia and around the world.
To know more about other corporations neglecting workers’ rights and collective bargaining follow #WDDW