On the 1st of May 1886, thousands of workers went on a general strike demanding eight-hour work day with no cut in pay throughout the United States. 130 years later, we celebrate brave, determined and uncompromised activisms of labour and women’s movements defending the rights of workers all around the world.
In every region of the world, progress towards equality, rights, freedom and justice for workers has been made. We have seen significant progress in international normative framework to promote, protect and fulfil labour and workers’ rights as well as a dedicated specialised global agency on labour (International Labour Organisation). Despite these gains, has our world really changed for workers, especially women workers, to live a dignified life? Definitely not.
Neoliberal globalisation has delivered the promised ‘prosperity’, but only to the 1% of the world’s population; while starkly increasing wealth, resource, power and opportunity inequalities between countries, between rich and poor and between men and women. Preferential agreements, which cover vast amounts of global trade, facilitate greater market competition and the freer flow of global capital, enabling increased access to resources and cheap labour in signatory countries. The recently signed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement as well as the in-negotiations Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will significantly undermine women’s rights, including their right to decent work and living wage. Evidence shows that preferential trade agreements have the effect of pushing down wages in an attempt to compete in a race to the bottom for cheaper exports while encouraging un-unionised, unregulated and flexible labour.
Trade union repressions and attacks against workers, farmers and human rights defenders are pandemic, used as a systematic and powerful weapon to safeguard the current economic and political power quo of the 1% of global elites. We need collective wisdom, power and actions for a just transition to a new political, social and economic order.
Is it a time for a Global Strike to end corporate greed and power?
Long Live Solidarity of the workers!