Workers’ rights really are human rights

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.

Actions: Comments (2)


27 October 2014 20:43
Under-skilled workers are human beings! Women are human beings! Human beings have inalienable universal rights and “are born free and equal in dignity and rights” (Art.1, UDHR), not to mention about the fact that “no one shall be held in slavery or servitude;” (Art.4, UDHR) or event the “right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interest” (Art. 23(4) UDHR). Though the two kinds of rights overlap in some many respects, unfortunately, as it is emphasized in the quoted article the question of classification ‘worker’s rights as human rights is still controversial’ … Why?! Maybe because the fear of unemployment and exclusion from the labour market is deliberately blinding people and making them silent in voicing their pain? In times marked by a harsh economic crisis is it necessary struggling only for preserving job security and skipping over the right to decent work? With regard to the issue of migrant workers … are they making an informed decision before emigrating? Is the state of origin really doing something for protecting the human rights of its emigrating citizens? However, the face of ChangingEmployment is opening up so many ‘windows of opportunity and sadness’ that today’s employees are facing and we simply cannot ignore the fact that workers’s rights are human rights and we should press the alarm button once with our public policy proposals ... at least that we can do
# Anonymous
05 December 2014 15:29
December 2014 Theme 1

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