By Ambet Yuson, General Secretary, Building and Wood Workers’ international
The Commission on the Future of Work established by the ILO presented its report on 22 January 2019. It includes proposals of far-reaching reforms in the organization of work. BWI is positive on the major changes submitted by the Commission, but I want to focus on one aspect of their report that is of special importance to workers in the industries BWI represent.
The report says that all workers should have the right to
The situation we face is that, although in many countries, all workers have the statutory right to
That means, among other things, that union density is under-estimated. If you take the number
We have a lot of “self-employed” workers working on construction sites and in some regions particularly in Asia, this is the normal form of employment. They are not employees, but micro-enterprises. In theory, they may be able to form associations, but the people they work for could
Workers provided by temporary work agencies might have, in some countries, the right to
There are many other workers, including contract workers, subcontractors, and informal workers who often fall through the cracks of
One of the ways that the Global Commission proposes to provide the effective rights to
This proposal might seem far-fetched and way too ambitious, but earlier this month, the United States Supreme Court, with a conservative majority, unanimously decided a question of access to the courts by a “self-employed” worker by siding with the worker. In their
self-employed. However, both sides agreed that he was a worker and the relevant legislation from 1925 did not speak of employees and self-employed, but only of workers.
The BWI has been deploying the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises to argue that companies have to assume the responsibility for human rights violations of workers even if those workers are not directly employed by them. Much of our work in mega-sporting events
The reform proposed for consideration by the Global Commission would provide a change of status that would protect the rights of those with disguised employment relationships and others, so it would be the same principle as that incorporated in the Guiding Principles, but with
A worker is a worker and a worker is a human being. The steady erosion of employment relationships by business has made many workers feel disposable or as if they are commodities being bought and sold on the open, and increasingly international market. That is not just a perception. It is a reality. Shifts in status often mean that workers are “protected” by commercial law, that treats all parties as equals instead of by