|Catholic-Inspired Organizations Working Together for Decent Work|
IYCW Statement at Seminar Co-Sponsored by the Holy See and the ILO
Representatives of Catholic-inspired organizations and religious congregations gathered in Rome on 29-30 April 2016, together with officials of the Holy See and of the International Labour Organization, with one aim: to make “decent work for all” an explicit goal of the post-2015 sustainable development goals.
On this occasion, Luis Vargas, a YCW Venezuela activist, made a statement on the reality of young workers in the Americas. Young people are faced with a wide range of problems such as precarious work, informal work, little access to education and training, unemployment, discrimination, unfair dismissals, machismo, and sexual harassment.
Precarious work: ill-treatment in some companies, women’s discrimination, poor health and safety conditions, including prohibition to go to the toilet, unjustified dismissals, non-compliance with labour legislation, and sexual harassment.
Informal work: no social security, no recognition of workers in this sector, repression and persecution of informal workers who are considered delinquents.
Education and training: very limited access, poor study conditions, poor opportunities to study.
Unemployment: difficulty to obtain a job within our community, obligation to migrate to the city or another country.
Specific youth problems: machismo is very strong, and most often women cannot study and are not allowed to leave their house to look for a job. Domestic workers are faced with sexual harassment, and pregnant workers are discriminated and face unfair dismissals.
Young people are usually unaware of their rights, and the few existing jobs force them to accept very precarious offers, without a minimum number of working hours. Governments fail to protect young people and there are no policies to ensure decent work.
At the world level, multinational corporations dominate the national economies and set the rules of the game. The struggle for the accumulation of wealth promotes an economy based on financial speculation, permanent consumerism, and workers’ flexibility. Corporate owners get richer and richer to the detriment of young workers.
The consequences for young people are heavy: problems to buy food and to meet their basic needs, industrial diseases for millions of youths, extreme fatigue, lack of social life and leisure time, loss of motivation to organize themselves and identify with the movement.
Faced with that reality, the young Catholics of the world do not remain silent. We believe that our evangelization is about transforming ourselves and transforming the society. This is part of the legacy of Jesus Christ, who lives in each and every young worker.
Our main actions and demands on the continent are the following:
Graffiti (clothing store – Venezuela): struggle for respect of job stability, payment of decent salary and right to join trade unions.
Salt mines (self-management – Haiti): struggle for government financial aid to repair the road used to transport production and search for markets.
Domestic workers (Peru): for the implementation of ILO convention 189 and for fair salaries.
Teachers (Guatemala): struggle for job stability and better working conditions.
Maquilas (Nicaragua): struggle for better working conditions and fair salaries.
Training centres (Paraguay): for better quality education which prepares for life and work.
Indebted young people (Quebec): against unpayable debts to financial institutions incurred by young people to ensure their living.
We believe in and struggle for
just and dignified work for all!