On 13 October, SOLIDAR will join the official launch of the SDG Watch Europe at the Permanent Representation of North-Rhine Westphalia in Brussels.
SDG Watch Europe is an emerging, cross-sectoral, civil society alliance of 70 EU-level civil society organisations (CSOs), initiated in June 2015. It aims to ensure the EU’s achievement of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 by independently monitoring EU and Member States’ implementation.
Starting on 26 September (17 days ahead of the #SDGWatchLaunch), SDG Watch Europe is dedicating each day to one of the 17 goals. On #SDGWatchLaunch a short message flags up the “SDG of the day”.
Today’s SDG is #SDG8: promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
SOLIDAR members work in more than 100 countries together with independent, representative and accountable community-based organisations and social movements, social economy actors (predominantly workers’ cooperatives), independent trade unions and local NGOs committed to promote decent work for all with a focus on freedom of association.
Here are some examples of their work:
- In Nicaragua, SOLIDAR Suisse supports the improvement of working conditions, promotes compliance with labour laws and advocates for social security for particularly vulnerable people. In Nicaragua the most precarious workers are farmers and 'own account workers', which is how taxi drivers and street and market vendors describe themselves. Many of them are women. In order to improve the working and living conditions of these precarious workers, SOLIDAR supports the efforts of two trade union federations: The Association of Rural Workers (ATC) in northern Nicaragua and the Confederation of Own Account Workers (CTCP) in the capital. ATC lawyers deal with over 2,000 legal actions of violations of labour rights per year, with a success rate of over 80%! Moreover, in a social dialogue with the Ministry of Labour and with the private sector, ATC also campaigns for increased minimum wages, and better child-care facilities in plantations.
- In Ecuador, FOS- Socialistische Solidariteit (SOLIDAR Belgian member) – supports rural workers trade union ASTAC’s (Asociación syndical de trabajadores agrícolas y campesinos) demand to register as a workers’ organisation. Indeed, government practice in the banana sector has been to recognise workers’ associations only when workers are employed by one employer alone. This makes it almost impossible to create a sectoral banana trade union. And even the trade unions representing workers from one employer only do not survive long due to anti-union practices like bribery, intimidation etc. This practice seems to be specific to the banana sector, the mainstay of Ecuador’s economy. In other sectors there are positive experiences of sectoral workers’ organisations that bring together workers from multiple employers. This is the case for example of the domestic workers trade union (Asociación de mujeres trabajadoras remuneradas del hogar) that have been (rightly) officially recognised even though their workers have multiple employers.
- In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), more specifically in Katanga, the Southern province of the DRC, our Belgian member Solidarité Socialiste works with the Centre National d'Appui au Développement et à la Participation Populaire (CENADEP) to support artisanal miners (around 1,500 people) to help them organise into democratic associations and networks with the aim of improving their living conditions and enforcing their rights. The region is rich with precious minerals such as copper, cobalt, zinc, gold and radioactive uranium reserves that guarantee 30% of the DRC’s overall budget. It is estimated that the artisanal mining sector accounts for more than 2 million workers in the DRC. It produces 90% of the exported minerals and it represents a direct and indirect source of income for 20% of the Congolese population. Their working conditions are extremely harsh: they extract the minerals often with bare hands and no safety equipment in tunnels that can go down to 80 metres, without secure structures, without air circulation, without any health and safety measures and seeing only by the beam of a flashlight. Their income depends on the trader to whom they sell the minerals and the number of intermediaries that drain their earnings. They live in villages without water, electricity or even minimal sanitary conditions, and under constant threat of deportation.
- In Jordan, SOLIDAR works with the Phenix Center to raise awareness about the criminalisation of the right to strike in Jordan. The amendments to the Jordanian Penal Code proposed by the government have led to a criminalisation of the right to strike. These provisions and amendments (see, for example, the provision in Art. 183 of the Penal Code, under which workers employed in essential sectors will be imprisoned if they go on strike) represent a clear violation of international standards, and are in substantial conflict with a number of legal, political, social and economic principles which are considered the basis of citizens' human rights.
Here you can read more on SOLIDAR members’ work to promote decent work for all.
 According to national labor law a trade union can only be organized with minimum 30 workers from only one employer. This has been observed several times by the ILO but Ecuadorian Government has not taken action to reduce the number or expand the possibility to organize to workers from several employers. In the case of the domestic workers, the government made an exception because for them it is impossible to gather 30 workers from one employer.