The (revised) European Social Charter enshrines the “right to work”, the “right to just conditions of work”, and the “right to a fair renumeration” as its first Articles. These rights include the right of a worker to earn his/her living in an occupation freely entered upon and the right of workers to a remuneration “such as will give them and their families a decent standard of living”.
While globalisation has brought about economic growth – and at times, growth in employment rates – not all jobs created have been of the sort which secures a decent standard of living for workers and their families based on their salaries. Some countries have reacted by “topping up” low salaries paid in the private sector, thus in effect subsidising the profits of private companies which do not pay decent salaries. This cannot be in anyone’s interest.
Employment is an essential instrument in the fight against poverty, but only when this is decent employment, respectful of the rights mentioned above. Indeed, renumeration which cannot secure a decent living now also cannot secure a decent pension later. It is thus important that the rights mentioned above should apply to all workers without discrimination, to women and men - and to farmers, entrepreneurs, migrant workers and the self-employed in as far as is possible. This requires a strict respect of the International Labour Office (ILO) conventions and of the European Social Charter provisions.
The Parliamentary Assembly therefore calls for a specific strategy and concerted action by the Council of Europe member states to secure decent work for all.