Workers' rights

Millions of workers around the world suffer poverty wages, appalling working conditions and exploitation. This exploitation is a result of the globalised capitalist system: the race for higher profits and lower costs.

We know poverty is political and the decisions made by governments, corporations and other elites are root cause of poverty and injustice.

War on Want works in partnership with grassroots social movements, trade unions and workers’ organisations in the struggle for workers’ rights.

Sweatshops: supply chain exploitation

The continuing exploitation of women in garment factories across the world is a damning indictment of the global economic system.

Women garment workers remain at the bottom of the supply chain, working long hours and denied basic rights.  In response to public anger at the continuing exploitation of workers in their supply chains, these companies claim that they have taken action to address the problems.

Yet the 'corporate social responsibility' programmes of British retailers have failed to improve the situation facing workers in garment factories across the world.  Yet women workers are fighting back - it is they who are winning their right to decent jobs and dignity. Take action.

Market traders and street vendors

Market traders and street vendors, peddling everything from food and clothes to handicrafts and books, are now a visible feature of city life across sub-Saharan Africa.

They work long hours with no guarantee of making a sale. They face harassment by the police, who force them to pay bribes to keep trading or confiscate their stock. This wipes out a trader’s business, making it nearly impossible to buy new goods and start over.

In the eyes of the government this is not real ‘work’. Informal workers account for 1.8 billion of the world’s population. In sub-Saharan Africa, 7 out of 10 people are involved in informal work – the majority are women. They invariably live in informal shack settlements in and around urban centres.

Precarious work

More and more workers in the UK find themselves on precarious contracts, unable to plan their lives or support their families as their hours and schedules are unpredictable.

Precarious contracts are a recipe for insecurity and exploitation. With bosses holding all the power, workers are too afraid of speaking out for fear of losing their job.

Right now migrant workers across the UK face racism, abuse and exploitation. As the UK labour market moves towards lower paid, less secure and more exploitative forms of employment, migrants in search of work find themselves increasingly vulnerable. Take action.

Living wage

The right to be paid a living wage is a basic entitlement of all working people the world over, whether they work in the public or private sectors, in the global South or North.

The living wage differs from statutory minimum wages in that it is calculated according to workers’ needs, not the demands of the labour market.

A living wage ensures that working people can earn enough to meet all their daily expenses and have some discretionary income left over to invest in their own or their family’s future. Find out more.

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