I came across the following article a couple of days ago. Its main argument, as the title suggests, is straightforward: ‘that workers’ rights, such as freedom of association, the right to strike, the prohibition of slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour, and the right to fair and just working conditions’ should be considered human rights. Challenging the current discussion on the topic that revolves around whether social rights are ‘justiciable’ in courts, or whether human rights can be only individual and not collective claims, the article argues that we should understand human rights as interdependent. Simply said, the right to work ‘means little, unless there is also a right to decent work; one cannot claim that the right to work is protected when workers are exploited’.
Even more, making workers’ rights, human rights would give ‘voice and offer political and moral space for the most vulnerable of groups, such as the unorganized, under-skilled, and undocumented’. And there is an urgent need to do so, as these groups live in inhumane conditions everywhere across the world, including Europe. To bring just an example, a recent article in the Italian Corriere della Serra documented how Romanian migrant women workers, in Sicily are sexually abused by landowners while working 11 hours a day, 6 days a week. The example shows that by not being able to refuse exploitation at work, these women lost even their most basic human rights.