The Importance of the Decent Work Concept
Decent work justifiably places emphasis on the people-centered approach to the globalisation process and the challenges that a changing international environment would bring. These challenges are both numerous and diverse, ranging from the declining prevalence of preferential trading arrangements for developing countries, to job redundancies in economic sectors that have become uncompetitive.
Decent work acknowledges that one cannot justifiably examine issues pertaining to trade, technology, international capital flows, intellectual property rights and market access without placing equal emphasis on other issues such as poverty reduction, gender equality, social security and workers rights. These issues have a direct impact not only on peoples’ jobs, but their cultures and their very existence. Consequently, though it is acknowledged that profits are the driving force behind all business entities in any capitalist society, the decent work concept acknowledges the fact that some equilibrium must be found between:
(i) economic and financial matters; and
(ii) social justice, both at the workplace and in wider society.
The concept recognises that focus must be placed not just on the quantity, but the quality of employment, regardless of the occupation in which a worker is engaged. This is a concept that should be vigorously pursued, especially in light of the challenges associated with the current economic crisis and beyond.