Rapporteur urges action for decent work and against child labour

Strasbourg, 07.10.2013 – To mark Decent Work Day (7 October), the rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly on decent work, Roel Deseyn (Belgium, EPP/CD), has urged European authorities to act more resolutely against social dumping and the exploitation of the workforce, in particular that of children, young people and migrants. “I am deeply concerned about the erosion of labour standards and a global race to the bottom,” he said.

“European Decent Work Day is a sobering reminder that the fundamental principles and rights at work of millions of workers are being flouted – whether it is unhealthy and unsafe working conditions or precarious work contracts and remuneration. It is particularly worrying that, despite recent improvements, one in ten children worldwide remain trapped in child labour, and about half of these children are in hazardous work which endangers their health and development.”

“This dire situation also hampers children’s education and their prospects for finding a decent job later on as adults. Although data for Europe are lacking, civil society and local authorities have signalled the resurgence of child labour on the continent, not least as a consequence of the economic crisis that has impoverished many families.”

“I call on governments to shoulder their responsibilities. We need to find a better balance between economic development, employment policies and social protection. Benchmarks enshrined in the European Social Charter must not only be translated properly into national legislation, but also respected fully at all times,” stressed Mr Deseyn. “European enterprises, too, must play their part fully to honour the social contract that binds them to society and the world of work.”

The Parliamentary Assembly is organising, on 18 October 2013, a parliamentary seminar on “Improving employment conditions of young workers (under the age of 18)”.