Happy Labour Day! Promoting decent work
Today we celebrate Labour Day – known as May Day in some countries – it is a good day to mark social progress and better living and working conditions.
Norway Grants has dedicated €8 million to the ‘Global Fund for Decent Work and Tripartite Dialogue’. The fund is managed by Innovation Norway and operates in 12 beneficiary countries (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia). It supports tripartite cooperation and promotes decent work. At a time of economic crisis and high unemployment the fund plays a vital role in improving social dialogue and enhancing economic and social development.
Norway has endorsed the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) decent work agenda and sees it as a key element to achieving fair globalisation, reducing poverty and achieving equitable, inclusive and sustainable development.
Decent work is about equal access to employment without discrimination, receiving a living wage, security in the work place, social protection, when, for example, ill or pregnant, and the freedom to assemble and organise.
Norway has a strong tradition of tripartite consultation, bringing together workers, employers and governments in formulating and negotiating labour standards and policies. A tripartite approach has the advantage of informing the body politic and thereby helping to design and implement national policies that will achieve fairer terms and working conditions that are favourable for all.
Norwegian social partners are taking part in several projects. The bilateral cooperation in a project with the Polish local government sector, for example, involves the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS). The Executive Director, Ms Sigrun Vågeng, says,
“(We) will underline that tripartite cooperation for the Norwegian local government sector is far more than the formal annual negotiations at national level – it is an ongoing cooperation at local level as a basis for better services for the population.”
Much interest – and real results
The programme for Decent Work and Tripartite Dialogue has received a lot of interest. Many projects are already underway.
In Bulgaria, for example, a project was launched to introduce a decent work agenda, involving cooperation between the Bulgarian trade union organisation (CITUB), Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA), the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO), Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO).
“We will introduce four best practices within communication, negotiation, decision-making processes and practices on different levels. Hundred and twenty representatives will be trained in social dialogue. We will also establish an e-forum on decent work topics,” says Ms Yuliqy Simeonova, the project’s manager.