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ILO — Convergences: decent work and social justice in religious traditions — A handbook / Convergences : travail décent et justice sociale dans les traditions religieuses / Convergencias: el trabajo decente y la justicia social en las tradiciones religiosas

ILO — Convergences: decent work and social justice in religious traditions — A handbook / Convergences : travail décent et justice sociale dans les traditions religieuses / Convergencias: el trabajo decente y la justicia social en las tradiciones religiosas
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From the Director-General’s Foreword:

“… uni­ver­sal and last­ing peace can be estab­lished only if it is based upon social jus­tice…” The ILO’s founders were vision­ary indeed when in 1919 they set out the premise of this new Orga­ni­za­tion. With these words, the ILO’s Con­sti­tu­tion rec­og­nized that peace could not be reduced to the absence of war. There was a broad under­stand­ing that it was also a mat­ter of pre­serv­ing human dig­ni­ty and wag­ing a war against want and inequity.

The ILO was born out of real life strug­gles for equi­ty cen­tred on the work­place as the heart­beat of econ­o­my and soci­ety. In work, issues of human dig­ni­ty, the well­be­ing and sta­bil­i­ty of fam­i­lies, com­mu­ni­ties and soci­eties mesh with the pro­duc­tive system.

After the rav­ages of the First World War, the ILO rep­re­sent­ed hope and the promise of an eco­nom­ic sys­tem with the checks and bal­ances that could deliv­er social jus­tice with work as a prin­ci­pal instru­ment of this process. Its mis­sion is dis­tilled in the con­cept of decent work. Over the last few decades the world has expe­ri­enced the upheaval of a process of glob­al­iza­tion from which many ben­e­fit­ted – but too many more have not. The back­lash was pre­dictable and in the wake of the worst cri­sis since the Great Depres­sion it has come to a head with more and more peo­ple feel­ing that they are too small to mat­ter, that human dig­ni­ty counts for lit­tle, that glob­al­iza­tion lacks an eth­i­cal foun­da­tion. There is a grow­ing sense of anger and disarray.

The down­side of glob­al­iza­tion is com­mon­ly expe­ri­enced through the world of work – poor wages and work­ing con­di­tions, unem­ploy­ment, under­em­ploy­ment, forced labour, child labour, sweat fac­to­ries, dimin­ished or no social pro­tec­tion, restric­tions on orga­niz­ing, and the list goes on.

Today, real­iz­ing decent work for all – pro­mot­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for work in ways that respect human dig­ni­ty and in the con­text of each soci­ety – is an imper­a­tive in restor­ing bal­ance and bring­ing human val­ues to bear on pol­i­cy choices.

When Olav Fykse Tveit, Gen­er­al Sec­re­tary of the World Coun­cil of Church­es, and I met in 2010, we both felt that our orga­ni­za­tions should engage in a com­mon jour­ney based on the con­vic­tion and knowl­edge that peace, social jus­tice and the world of work were intertwined.

This hand­book is the very first out­come of that encounter. We were delight­ed when our project was rein­forced with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the Pon­tif­i­cal Coun­cil for Jus­tice and Peace and the Islam­ic Edu­ca­tion­al Sci­en­tif­ic and Cul­tur­al Organization.

Spir­i­tu­al­i­ty and val­ues are essen­tial in the quest for a fair glob­al­iza­tion. This hand­book demon­strates that in dif­fer­ent reli­gions and spir­i­tu­al tra­di­tions there is great con­ver­gence of val­ues on the sub­ject of work. Human dig­ni­ty, sol­i­dar­i­ty and above all the con­nec­tion between work, social jus­tice and peace put us on com­mon ground. There is much to inspire and guide future action.

This hand­book is a first step. I see much scope for future col­lab­o­ra­tion to expe­dite the dawn of a new era of social jus­tice draw­ing on our shared values.

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