Pope: “Urgent need for economic reforms, protection of workers”


The Pope addresses the workers of the steel company ILVA in Genoa image 2017 Vatican Media

Source: Vatican News

On the occasion of the 109th anniversary of the founding of the International Labor Organization (ILO), Pope Francis sent a video message in which he underlined the importance of the rights of the worker, of every worker in every form of work, especially since we are emerging from this Covid-19 pandemic in the hope of an economic recovery.

The Holy Father began by noting that in recent months the ILO has done “commendable work in paying special attention to our most vulnerable brothers and sisters”.

During this lingering crisis, he said, we must continue to show “special care” for the common good. The Pope noted that over the past year “we have seen unprecedented job losses around the world”, turning the crisis into an economic crisis globally.

As we seek solutions to return to greater post-pandemic economic activity, Pope Francis asks us to avoid all forms of discrimination, including “consumerism” or “nationalism”. “We must seek solutions that will help us build a new future of work based on decent and dignified working conditions” always “by promoting the common good”.

We are called to prioritize our response to workers on the fringes of the labor market who are still affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Pope noted that migrants, as well as other vulnerable workers and their families “generally remain excluded from access to national programs for health promotion, disease prevention, treatment and care, as well as financial protection plans and psychosocial services ”. Pope Francis has warned that this exclusion complicates the management of the Covid-19 pandemic, increasing the risk of epidemics that pose an additional threat to public health.

Pope Francis then expressed some of his main concerns. First, he began, “it is the fundamental mission of the Church to call all to work together” to serve the common good “the aim of which is, above all, to build and consolidate peace and trust between all ”.

He added that the most vulnerable “cannot be left behind in the dialogue that should also bring together governments, businesses and workers. It is essential that all faiths and religious communities engage together.”

The Church has a long experience of participating in these dialogues… and offers herself to the world “as a builder of bridges to help create or facilitate them”, declared the Pope. It cannot be the one who has fewer rights or more rights dialogue with the one who does not. The same level of rights and obligations thus guarantees a serious dialogue.

The Pope noted that “it is also essential to the mission of the Church to ensure that all people receive the protection they need according to their vulnerability: illness, age, disability, displacement, marginalization or dependence. “. Social protection systems, themselves facing major risks, must be supported and extended to ensure access to health services, food and basic human needs, the pope said.

He added that “the protection of workers and the most vulnerable must be ensured through respect for their fundamental rights”, including the right to organize. That is to say, explained the Pope, “to organize in unions is a right”. The most vulnerable “should not be adversely affected by measures aimed at accelerating a recovery based solely on economic indicators,” the Pope said. He added that “here we also need a reform of the economic system, a deep reform of the economy. The way the economy is run must be different, it must also change”, a- he declared.

“This virus is spread by thinking that life is better if it’s better for me, and that all is well if it’s good for me, so you start and end up choosing one person over another, rejecting the poor, sacrificing those who have been left behind, on what is called “the altar of progress.” It is a truly elitist dynamic, of building up new elites at the cost of eliminating many people and many peoples ”.

Looking to the future, it is fundamental that the Church, and therefore the action of the Holy See with the ILO, support measures which correct the unjust or incorrect situations which condition working relationships and which completely subjugate them. at the idea of ​​”exclusion”, or which violate the basic rights of workers, said the Pope.

He noted that the pandemic reminded us that there are “no differences or boundaries between those who suffer”.

“We are all fragile and, at the same time, all of great value. We hope that what is happening around us will shake us deeply. The time has come to eliminate inequalities, to remedy the injustice which undermines the health of the entire human family “, said the Pope

It is the conviction of the Holy See that work, and therefore workers, can count on guarantees, support and accountability if they are protected from the “game” of deregulation, the Pope said. Legal standards must focus on job growth, decent work and human rights and duties, he added.

In order to promote this common action, it is necessary to fully understand the work, noted the Pope. The first element of this understanding is to understand work in all its forms, “including non-standard forms of employment”. The Pope noted that the work goes beyond what is traditionally called “formal employment”. The lack of social protection for workers in the informal or hidden economy and their families makes them particularly vulnerable to clashes and they “cannot rely on the protection offered by social insurance or social assistance schemes aimed at fighting. against poverty”.

The Pope then spoke about the problems women face. “Women in the hidden economy are feeling the impact of Covid-19 in many ways, from isolation to extreme exposure to health risks.” He noted that the lack of accessible child care leaves workers’ children “at increased health risk because their mothers have to take them to the workplace or leave them unattended at home.” “We must ensure that social assistance reaches the hidden economy and pays special attention to the special needs of women and girls,” the Pope said.

The second element for a good understanding of the work is that it must include the dimension of care. “A job which does not take care, which destroys Creation, which endangers the survival of future generations, does not respect the dignity of workers and cannot be considered decent”, declared the Pope. Considering that “a work that cares, which contributes to the restoration of full human dignity, will help to ensure a sustainable future for future generations”.

Each people has its own culture, affirmed the Pope. “It is time to finally free ourselves from the legacy of the Enlightenment, which associated the word culture with a certain type of intellectual training and social belonging. Each people has its own culture and we must accept it as it is, said the Pope. .

Pope Francis has called for political leaders and all those who work in governments to “always seek inspiration in that form of love that is political charity”.

He reminded businessmen that their true vocation is to “produce wealth for the service of all”, business skills are a gift from God and “should always be clearly oriented towards the development of others and the poverty eradication, in particular through the creation of diversified jobs. Opportunities. ”Sometimes, speaking of private property, we forget that it is a secondary right, which depends on this primary right, which is the universal destination of goods, said the Pope.

The Pope then called on trade unionists and leaders of workers’ associations “not to let themselves be ‘bogged down’, to focus on the real situations of the neighborhoods and communities in which they operate, while addressing policy issues. broader economic and ‘macro-relations’. ”Unions must also guard the walls of the city from work, like a guardian who watches over and protects those inside the city from work, but who also watches and protects those who are outside the walls, said the Pope.

Finally, Pope Francis reminded all participants that the Church supports them. “She’s walking next to you,” he said.

Watch the Pope’s speech (in Spanish) on the Vatican Youtube channel: www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoTw_KkiddQ

Keywords: Pope Francis, Workers, Economy, World of work, International Labor Organization, ILO, Trade unions

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