The way out of poverty - Decent Work and Universal Social Protection

The way out of poverty - Decent Work and Universal Social Protection

October 17th is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty: a day to recall the EU and its Members States their commitment to eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities.

Indeed, even in Europe, poverty is the reality for many people:

  • More than 100 million people in Europe are at risk of poverty and social exclusion and the EU is still far from being on track to meeting its target of lifting at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty or social exclusion by 2020.
  • The number of working-poor affects almost 10% of European workers. In-work poverty affects mainly people with lower education levels, those in temporary or part-time jobs.
  • According to OECD data, downward mobility has increased and upward intergenerational social mobility is higher in the US than in the EU.

Within this context,

  • SOLIDAR is concerned by the growing stigmatization of poverty. Stigmatization takes very different forms: from laws, policies and institutional practices that discriminate or shame people living in poverty (considered lazy and unwilling to work) to forms of brutal repression of groups such as homeless people, mendicants and others. As a result, even if there is enough evidence that the progressive reduction of social benefits does not stimulate the research of a new job, often social security benefits, such as the unemployment benefit, are well below the poverty line (e. g. according to the Belgian trade union FGTB 1 unemployed person out of 2 is at risk of poverty) and progressively reduced. Policies should fight poverty and inequalities, not poor people.
  • Since the Decent Work Decent Life Campaign, SOLIDAR has been advocating for Decent Work for all and access to Universal Social Protection as an effective way out of poverty. Indeed, not any job is a good job: job creation is not a viable solution to poverty and not enough to reduce inequalities (as the phenomenon of working poor demonstrate).
  • SOLIDAR reminds that the international community has recognized the fundamental right to social protection for all through the adoption of the ILO Recommendation N. 202 on Social Protection Floors. It commits all Members States to set up National Social Protection Floors, including access to essential services, such as quality health care and quality education, and income support measures such as, for example, minimum income schemes. Moreover, the elimination of poverty and the reduction of poverty as well as the universal access to essential services, are core goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted in 2015 by all EU Members States and by the EU. 

By now, we have all the right analysis and commitments in place, what we need is the political will to move from words to action. 

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