Monday, 10.06.2019 - New Delhi

Workers strive for work life dignity through fulfillment of decent work agenda

Decent work is what the workers’ organisations are striving for globally. The everyday struggle of an individual worker is about getting gainfully employed, freedom to exercise rights at the workplace, enjoy social protection and to actively engage with employers in constructive social dialogue. It seems quite a reasonable framework yet a distant reality for an increasing number of work force across the globe. The question remains, why still a large workforce is out of the ambit of decent work?

Photo: FES

The former Director General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Juan Somavia had said “Decent work is at the heart of the search for dignity for the individual, stability for the family and peace in the community”.


In the last two decades, things have been changing rapidly with the emerging global economy. Globalisation has brought prosperity for some and inequalities for many, which are testing the limits of collective social responsibility. Economic liberalisation policies are impacting the relationship between the Government, labour and business. Economic outcomes are now increasingly shaped by the market norms than by facilitation through the traditional social actors, legal norms or State mediation. Changes in employment patterns, labour markets and labour relations are having a profound impact on workers’ organisations as they struggle to keep their membership intact.


“Workers’ Organisations need to be taken into confidence and assured that the interests of workers shall remain paramount in all policy making efforts across countries”.


With the advent of the fourth industrial revolution, new challenges have come up. In the future, there could be potential impact on employment across sectors, working conditions and the broader legislative framework. This calls for a more cohesive introspection by different stakeholders so that inclusive growth and decent work continue to remain central through our collective action(s) in the changing economic paradigm. An overview of all this and more is presented in our latest video “In the quest for decent work”.


Confidence building measures need to be taken to revive tripartism in letter and spirit in many countries. Mutual trust among the Government, Employers and Workers’ Organisations is the basic premise through which effective and meaningful dialogue can take place and solutions arrived at.




Anup Srivastava is Program Adviser of the Labour and Industrial Relations project at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung India office in New Delhi. 

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