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The achievements of generations of working people, celebrated on May Day, are under continuous and systematic
attack, as powerful multinational corporations and a handful of immensely wealthy people are writing the rules
of the global economy. Governments are in retreat, pandering to the ultra-rich and failing in their duty to ensure
decent work for all and an end to poverty. Nationalism and xenophobia are eroding solidarity, at a time when the
world is confronted with the biggest refugee crisis in 70 years and as migrant workers are deprived of the dignity
of equal treatment.


Tens of millions of women and men are trapped in modern slavery, and many more make up the hidden workforce
of global supply chains, denied the right to a union or to a living minimum wage and often trapped in dangerous and
degrading work. 40% of the world’s workforce is caught in the informal economy, with no rights and living hand￾to-mouth.

The poisonous dogma of austerity, designed to transfer yet greater wealth to the 1%, is hitting women
hardest and stopping any chance of progress on the great challenges of our time.
With more than a billion people affected by violence or insecurity and hundreds of thousands in the front lines of
armed conflict, the threat of new wars is never far away. There can be no peace without human rights, and it is the
guarantee of human rights, including the fundamental rights of working people, that is the foundation for prosperity
and peace.


The economic system is broken, and the rules must be re-written, by and for the many rather than the few.
Workers everywhere are fighting back, organising unions in the face of violent intimidation, campaigning for decent
work and striking even where there is no right to strike. In the factories of East-Asia and the plantations of Central
America, in towns and cities across Africa and throughout the world at large, working people are standing up to
corporate bullies and demanding respect for their right to a union, to collective bargaining and social protection
and for secure and safe jobs. Women workers are saying “Count Us In” for equality at work, investment in the care
economy, an end to the gender pay gap and for their rightful place in union leadership.


For 130 years, this day has been a time to celebrate solidarity and to pay homage to those who have sacrificed so
much in the cause of social justice. May Day 2017 is again a day to show the strength and determination of working
people to fight oppression, to demonstrate solidarity at home and across borders, and to take forward the task of
building a better world.


New challenges are arising, with technology transforming the world of work, with carbon emissions threatening
yet more climate devastation and with populism and extreme-right dogma moving into the mainstream. We call on
governments to stand up to the threats and intimidation of the elite which today controls the levers of power, and
to stand with working people. We re-affirm our pledge of solidarity to all those who face repression, poverty and
exploitation, and will never step back our mission to build prosperity, equality and dignity for all.


ITUC 2017 May Day Statement
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