While representing the large majority of city dwellers and urban communities, city workers –formal or informal, young, women, or migrant – are often invisible and underpaid, working and living in precarious conditions. They build and operate our cities, bringing them to life, providing the essential services urban and local communities need. City workers need decent working conditions, adequate resources and staffing levels, and appropriate health and safety equipment, systems and training to perform their jobs correctly. Instead, the conditions of workers that build and maintain our cities leave much to be desired.
The violation of basic workers’ and trade unions’ rights, precarious employment, poverty wages, the lack of training and safety equipment, as well as the privatization of essential public services, austerity measures and tax avoidance dramatically undermine our cities’ inclusiveness and sustainability. Many operate under extremely difficult conditions: public emergency, building and construction, health and utility as well as migrant workers often lose their lives or get permanently impaired on the job because of such conditions.
It is crucial that urban communities’ stakeholders, mayors, local and central government officials and elected representatives, as well UN Habitat ensure that workers’ and trade union rights are not only non-negotiable human rights, but also preconditions to achieve the NUA’s transformative commitments and the SDGs. Workers and their trade unions are key institutional actors in shaping social, economic and urban policy on an equal footing with social partners local authorities and business, as per the ILO’s tripartite approach.
How are trade unions, workers, mayors and civil society allies implementing the NUA’s transformative commitments to making cities and local communities more equitable and inclusive?
What are the challenges of public emergency service workers in dealing with the consequences of climate change in cities?
How can decent housing be ensured for construction workers, who build cities and are yet often at the edge of urban centers?
What is the role of accessible universal, gender and youth responsive-public services in securing urban gender equality?
How can we design cities and urban institutions so migrant workers have a greater capacity to exercise their rights?
How can decent work be achieved in municipal waste management services and foster an inclusive urban circular economy?