June 14, 2023
IUF advances UN’s Decent Work Agenda in agri-food sector

Geneva –  An IUF group of experts, which included UFCW Canada, worked to achieve policy guidelines, for the first time, to promote the UN’s Decent Work Agenda for the agri-food sector.

The new guidelines are the result of an intense round of tri-partite bargaining that was facilitated by the International Labour Organization (ILO), and involved worker representatives from Costa Rica, Grenada, Holland, India, Uganda, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Zimbabwe, in addition to Canada. The IUF is a global union federation of food and hospitality workers, which UFCW Canada has proudly affiliated to for decades.

The four pillars of the Decent Work Agenda – employment creation, social protection, rights at work, and social dialogue – are integral elements of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The new guidelines for the agri-food sector are especially noteworthy because they follow a similar tri-partite effort in 2016 which could not reach consensus.

The new guidelines are intended to provide UN member states and ILO constituents – like transnational corporations – with guidance in developing and implementing policies to promote decent work in the agri-food sector.

In addition to safeguarding fundamental labour rights, the promotion of decent work is also dedicated to addressing major global challenges such as environmental degradation and climate change.

The new guidelines also reaffirm the importance of social dialogue and tripartism – unions, employers and governments negotiating in good faith toward consensus – in promoting a decent work agenda and tackling other critical issues facing workers and their communities everywhere.  

“Working with allies at the UN and ILO to develop these internationally recognized policy tools is another testament to UFCW’s relentless fight at every level to advance the labour rights of agri-food workers, not just here in Canada, but around the world,” says UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema. “The decent work agenda for the agri-food sector is a crucial step toward ending the vulnerability that too many workers in this sector experience daily.”

To learn more about the decent work policy guidelines for the agri-food sector, and to read the full report, click here.