Decent work for all program

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TemaDecent work for all program

8 March trade union demonstration in Accra, Ghana

Decent work for all program

The LO Decent work for all programme is a global programme consisting of projects in African, Latin American, Asian and Middle Eastern countries. 16 of the projects are bilateral project cooperation with trade union confederations and with sector unions in 16 countries, and four are regional projects covering more than one country of operations. For more information touch the red text "Les hele saken"

LO's Theory of Change (ToC) has been developed with reference to LO’s values, policies and priorities, as well as context analysis and strategic reviews and evaluations of other LO projects and programmes for development projects, as well as ILO's decent work agenda, ILO's core conventions and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Project overview

This ToC must be seen in conjunction with LO's Global Results Framework. It will be used in the ongoing monitoring, critical reflection and adaptation of our programmes in the light of changing contexts and new learning.

The problems we seek to address

The problems we seek to address

About half the world’s population still lives on the equivalent of about USD 2 a day. And having a job doesn’t guarantee the ability to escaping from poverty in most countries. Around one out of two of the world's workforce have insufficient salaries and poor working conditions.

Globally, some 780 million women and men are working but not earning enough to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Indecent salaries/wages are important global barriers to poverty reduction.

In many countries we see increasing inequality, attacks on trade union and social rights and deterioration of job quality and security. The work life is under pressure. The number of temporary contracts is rising, and many workers can only find jobs in the informal economy. "Over 60 per cent of all workers lack any kind of employment contract...Fewer than 45 per cent of wage and salaried workers are employed on a full-time, permanent basis, and even that share is declining."

Globally, violations of workers' rights are affecting workers everyday life. The trade union movement is under heavy pressure worldwide. Norwegian and international trade union movements are being challenged by globalisation, increasing competition and investments across country borders and changing labour markets. Conflicts, wars and economic crises have led to massive loss of jobs, social unrest and increasing pressure against the trade unions and workers' rights. Many national governments consider trade union rights an obstacle to economic development and disregard fundamental labour rights. In many countries, trade union officers and members are subjected to harassment and victims of violence.

Global inequalities in the labour market are high between men and women and between migrant and local workers. The number of migrant workers around the world is increasing. According to the International Organisation for Migration there are 258 million international migrants in the world.

Half of them are migrant workers, and almost half of these are women. Workers migrating in search of a better life, has been a phenomenon for centuries and is a result of both push and pull factors. The reasons may be political instability, civil strife or poverty. With few job opportunities in their home countries, workers seek employment abroad. Historically, countries have
also worked to attract migrant workers due to lack workers in specific sectors. This may also create “brain drain” in many developing countries. However, in some developing countries like the Philippines, huge remittances sent back home constitute a considerable part of the economy.

Migrant workers live under particularly challenging conditions. In many countries migrant workers are not covered by the labour laws and face discrimination and harassment.

Migrants, especially irregular ones, experience problems at every stage of migration such as illegal recruitment, excessive placement fees, contract violations, unfavourable working and living conditions, or illegal termination of contract. The migrant workers are a vulnerable group which needs particular support and protection. The protection of the rights of migrant workers is an important task for the trade union movement.

Women are often discriminated against in the labour market. Men dominate leadership positions and pay gaps between women and men are still huge, with women being paid an average of 23
percent less than men.4 In many countries and work places women lack basic reproductive and maternal rights. Women are often subject to sexual harassment and abuse at the working place.

Unequal representation of women in decision making positions is a challenge in the political scene as well as in trade unions.

For workers that are both migrants and women, the situation is often even worse. Some women workers are trafficked across country borders as domestic workers, often with complete lack of rights and protection.

Youth unemployment is on the rise. Currently about 13 percent of young people are unemployed globally. The share of youth living in poverty despite having a job, is significantly higher than among working adults. For young women the situation is worse than for young men.5 ("37.7 per cent of working youth are in extreme or moderate poverty compared to 26 per cent of working adults").

Our vision and pre-conditions for its success

LO's vision is "decent work for all ". The International Labour Organizations' (ILO) definition of decent work is that "Decent work involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal
development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organise and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men."6 Reaching the global goal to end poverty by 2030 without securing decent work will be extremely difficult.

In line with ILO we believe that, for our vision to be realized, there are fundamental pre-conditions.

These are not all within the control or sphere of influence of LO:

Social dialogue:
Social dialogue is defined by the ILO as all types of negotiation, consultation or simply exchange of information between, or among, representatives of governments, employers and workers, on issues of common interest relating to economic and social policy.

The main goal of social dialogue itself is to promote consensus building and democratic involvement in the world of work. Successful social dialogue structures and processes have the potential to resolve important economic and social issues, encourage accountable governance, advance social and industrial peace and stability and boost economic progress.

LO believes that social dialogue, which leads to the recognition of trade unions and the signing of collective bargaining agreements that regulate and improve wages and working conditions for workers, is the most important tool to promote better working life and consequently reduce poverty through better pay and social benefits.

Rights at work:
Workers should enjoy universal rights, applying to all workers regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity/nationality, disabilities, cultural, religious or political views. Rights at work are a mix of rights obtained under labour and employment law and claimed/additional rights obtained
through collective agreements. These are important to poverty reduction through workers gaining decent pay and safe working conditions.

Social protection:
Workers must be protected from risks that may lead to increasing poverty such as unemployment, exclusion, sickness, disability and old age. They must be guaranteed social benefits that enable them to do their work and combine work and family. Social protection is important for poverty reduction through enhancing workers capacities to manage their economy and social risk.

Job creation:
Everyone who wants a job should be able to get work. Job creation is key to poverty reduction through workers gaining the benefits of their work, including increased income/decent pay to cover their (own and their families') health and social expenses. The more workers getting decent income and paying taxes, the more contributions are being channelled to the welfare system, giving more welfare benefits and thus reducing poverty.

Additionally, we believe that a focus on gender equality, human rights and strengthening civil society across all these pre-conditions, are key to achieving the vision of LO.

Barriers and challenges that need to be addressed

Globally the SDG 1.37 and the human right to social protection is largely a right on paper but not in practice for the majority of the world's population. 55 percent have no social protection benefits
whatsoever, whilst only 29 percent are considered to have comprehensive social protection. This means that the majority does not have any access to unemployment benefit, paid sick leave, child and family benefits, old-age pensions nor other key social benefits. Investing in social protection is a big challenge in most countries in Africa, Middle East and Asia. And the lack of social protection makes a big share of the global population vulnerable to poverty, inequality and social exclusion, thus
presenting a huge barrier to economic and social development in many developing countries.

The lack of safety and security at the workplace is a huge challenge for workers and their families, with massive human and societal costs. Every year, almost 2.8 million people die from occupational accidents or work-related diseases. And every year 374 million suffer from non-fatal work-related injuries or illnesses.

Weak or non-existing collective agreements are other challenges facing workers globally. In the past decade, collective bargaining has come under pressure in many countries. The same countries lack a legal framework promoting or ensuring the rights to collective bargaining. Policy gaps ensuring rights to organise coupled with a lack of strong and representative trade unions and employer's organisations, the very foundations of collective bargaining, is a persistent global challenge.

The ILO has developed and maintained a system of international labour standards essential to ensure that the growth of the global economy provides benefits to all. The core labour standards include freedom of association and recognition of the right to collective bargaining (conventions 87 and 98), elimination of forced labour (conventions 29 and 105), abolition of child labour (conventions 138 and 182) and the elimination of discrimination in employment (conventions 100 and 111). These form the
basis of the human rights framework that trade unions operate within.

Most countries have ratified the core conventions of ILO, and some countries have integrated these in the legal framework. The challenge lies in non-implementation and compliance to the conventions in practice. E.g. The Ministry of Labour lacks the necessary capacity for comprehensive labour

Where organising workers and collective bargaining is allowed on paper, there are often so many restrictions in the legal framework that it becomes impossible to do so in reality. E.g. the law may
require that you need a certain number of members to register as a union. The lack of rights to organise has an impact on workers participation in decisions that affect their lives and working
conditions. Many places backlogs in courts/justice system are so high that even if there is a violation of law identified it may in reality never reach court.

While freedom of association is a universal right for all workers and employers, certain categories of workers, such as public service workers, agricultural workers, workers in export-processing zones, migrant workers, domestic workers and the self-employed are persistently excluded from the right to
associate and bargain collectively in a significant number of countries. The trade union movement works actively to promote and respect international labour standards, protect the rights of workers and organise to secure and defend freedom of association.

Despite there being 780 million workers globally, only 175 million workers are collectively organised (in unions). This means that almost 4 out of 5 workers lack influence over decisions made in their work place. They do not have someone to represent their interests and defend their rights. The lack of protection of workers' rights contribute to the indecent working conditions as no one holds employers accountable to workers' rights. The lack of collective organisation of workers also contribute to there not being sufficient forces in civil society that are able to put pressure on decision-makers to ensure policy and legal changes enhancing or protecting workers rights.

There are also global barriers to gender equality and women's rights. Male dominated management /leadership positions and representation globally is a barrier to fair representation of both genders and issues concerning both women and men. The trade unions are often a mirror of the societal gender gaps in leadership and representation. The lack of women workers that are organised and the lack of women in leadership positions also lead to gender inequalities and women's rights not being
adequately addressed in policies and collective agreements.

How we believe change could happen (drivers)

Promoting decent work is one of the most important tools in fighting poverty. LO believes that it will not be possible to achieve decent work for all without the participation of strong trade unions. Trade unions organisations can also empower workers to raise their voice for dignity and improved conditions at the working place, for justice in their communities and greater equality between workers and in the economy. Trade unions can play an important role in the society by putting pressure on the governments to promote decent work and social justice.

Trade union rights are basic human rights. The right to belong to an organisation, the right to collective bargaining and to strike are key to create a just and democratic society. The trade union
movement is the primary advocate for better living and working conditions. Peace, democratic rights, just distribution and strong trade unions are preconditions to economic and social development and sustainable societies.

Strong trade unions are central actors in civil society, provide an important corrective to political rule and contribute to more just distribution of goods and services. LO believes that working women and men can collectively improve their wages and workplaces, call on their governments to improve or uphold laws and protect human rights, and be a force for democracy and inclusive growth that leaves no one behind.

Trade unions are not operating in a vacuum. The labour market is heavily influenced by all three social partners; workers, employers and the state. Employers or strong, representative employer organisations are together with trade unions the fundamental partners in collective bargaining which is key to achieving decent working conditions and social protection for workers. The employers take the responsibilities that lies in being employers by rolling out pension schemes, preventing or dealing
with work related accidents and other aspects of social protection.

The employers have the role of implementing social protection schemes in practice, while the trade unions have the advocacy role of ensuring this protection. Additionally, employer organisations contribute to creating level playing fields in all countries between foreign and domestic companies, which may e.g. level out salary differences and ensure that all employers operate within the same conditions, laws and regulations.

In achieving job creation, both the state and employers/employer organisations play crucial roles in promoting an enabling environment for new investments providing more jobs and reducing unemployment. As with the trade unions, the employer organisations can also play a key role in influencing decision-makers to change priorities or legal framework related to the labour market.

Many countries have decent work country programmes. The State is a key actor in creating an enabling environment for decent work. This is done through developing and implementing legal
frameworks, upholding laws, checks and balances such as labour inspectorate, etc. Governments can adopt policies that promote tripartite social dialogue and collective bargaining.

United Nations organisations are important drivers for different aspects of decent work. Among these, The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is a key actor internationally promoting social
justice, human rights and labour rights. ILO plays an important facilitating role internationally in bringing the social partners together for tripartite dialogue. ILO is also monitoring status and
implementation of international human right and labour standards, and addresses violations of rights
and standards.

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) acts as an international watchdog for violations of trade union rights, and are a global advocacy, campaigning and coordination force for trade unions. Global Union Federations (GUF) have a similar role for sector trade unions internationally. Both actors are part of the global tripartite dialogue platform. Also, academia and other research institutions (in some cases think tanks) contribute to the decent work agenda through research and development, and participation in decent work platforms.

Who we are: identity, values, mission, core strengths, relationship and resources

The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions' (LO) is Norway’s largest labour organisation. It is a confederation of national trade unions, organising 920 000 members across 26 affiliated unions
representing workers from all sectors in Norway. About 50 percent of our membership are female. Half of LO's members work in the public sector and the other half in the private sector.

LO was founded on April 1st, 1899. The establishment of local unions began in the early 1850s and the first nationwide federation was founded in 1872. The affiliates main activities are concentrated around improving members’ wage and working conditions, including welfare programmes. The affiliates possess extensive competence and resources that LO uses in its international work.

Collective agreements and collective bargaining are the core activities of LO. The Confederation is also an important social player that takes part in the political debate and submits comments to legislative initiatives put forward by the Government and the Parliament.

LO believes that robust labour legislation, coupled with strong, responsible trade unions and a regulated labour market, ensures a safe and sustainable world of work. A smoothly functioning
democracy where decisions are taken collectively and where non-governmental organizations and the free media play an important role are decisive for the freedom of the individual.
Small social differences and a society in which people share meeting places help build security and mutual trust. It creates a “we” that does not come at the cost of the “I”. The combination of a strong welfare state and a relatively equal distribution of private prosperity ensures a good balance between individual freedoms and the security provided by society.

The Norwegian model has proved resilient and it generates interest among social engineers in other parts of the world. It has produced high rates of employment, effective adaptability and a learning world of work. An organised public has been instrumetal in developing Norway’s democracy and welfare state. The labour movement in particular has played an important role in ensuring
democracy, economic growth, gender equality, balanced redistribution and safety for all citizens.

LO believes that there are many lessons learned from the Norwegian experience that could add value and inspiration to social partners, particularly trade unions, in other countries.
LOs core values are to ensure freedom, solidarity and equality of all workers irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, religion, philosophy of life and cultural views.

LO's mission is: To promote and defend workers' rights through social dialogue, collective bargaining, advocacy and international trade union cooperation and solidarity. To achieve unity and strength in trade union work to promote and coordinate wage earners’ work-related, health-related, financial, social, insurance-related and cultural interests. To work towards strengthening the welfare state and further developing economic democracy and industrial democracy, and an equitable distribution of common goods.

One of the bases of LO 's international work is the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). LO particularly contributes to five of the 17 Sustainable Developments Goals. The SDG number 8 on
decent work is at the core of LO's national and international work; "to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all".

Two targets correspond with LO’s core activities: “by 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value” (target 5) and to “protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment” (target 8).

Furthermore, LO contributes to SDG 1 to "End poverty in all its forms everywhere and SDG 5 "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls is mainstreamed in on all activities". LO's partners also engage in SDG 10 on reducing inequalities and SGD 16 on promoting peaceful and inclusive
societies and justice for all.

LO's core strengths are a mix of different factors. Being the oldest and by far the largest Norwegian trade union confederation gives LO the ability to negotiate on behalf of members and the credibility to represent all workers sectors and individual workers towards employer's representatives and government. It also provides the legitimacy for the political influence that LO enjoys nationally and internationally, as well as its good international reputation. The solid legal competence and strong technical competence in trade union work enables LO not only to assist own members (affiliates or individual workers) in their day-to-day work, but also to provide advice, guidance and accompaniment of other trade unions internationally. The international engagement is well embedded with LO's members who contribute financially (individual workers) and technically (affiliated sector unions) to LO's international engagement. LO is a strong and predictable partner for cooperation and support.

LO has directly assigned nine man-years to international development and solidarity work. Staff have a wide and varied range of expertise and experience, Staff members have extensive experience with organising, social dialogue including collective bargaining and collective agreements work in Norway and abroad.

Through having had project co-operation in the same countries for a great number of years, LO has acquired in-depth knowledge of their political and economic conditions, as well as the labour situation and trade union's challenges and opportunities. LO has appointed five regionally based consultants who know the regions well and have long experience with the labour movements
in Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

Additionally, LO can draw upon expertise in other technical departments such as departments for collective bargaining, economic and social policy or health and safety. LO has 22 staff working with youth and students and 600 youth representatives across the affiliates, which provides a good resource/knowledge base on youth mobilisation, policies and structures also for the international work.

The financial resources for LO's international work come from own funds and the Norwegian government. LO as an organisation possesses 4,3 billion in equity. Its members contribute between 1
percent and 2 percent of their salaries as membership fees to the sector union which in turn pays 20 percent of all dues to LO. All LO members pay a share of their membership fee towards the
international solidarity fund.

LO is financially independent and sustainable as an organisation and has the freedom to make independent choices based on members needs and internal democracy rather than external forces.

LO has bilateral relations with trade union organisations in more than 50 countries, including countries in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Both on European and global level, LO is a member of and contributes to a broad network of trade union organisations. On tripartite level, LO has a consultative role and is an active participant at meetings in the ILO.

LO also works closely with all employer organisations in Norway as partners in social dialogue. The biggest of these, the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO), is not only a partner to LO in collective bargaining agreements in Norway, but the partnership also extends to parts of the international project cooperation.

Our ways of working

LO is providing political support which is important in preventing and solving issues when violations of workers' rights occur. In the international work many cooperating partners ask for the sharing of experiences and input on new issues. LO does advocacy on international arenas as well as in Norway. LO also promote and supports partners advocacy work in their countries and regions.

LO is developing the capacity of trade union organisations in developing countries. The starting point is LO's own organisational model, focusing on stronger internal structures and building capacity to promote democracy and justice, internally and externally. LO wants to strengthen their legitimacy
and their capacity for influence on national policy level and on workplace level. Through LO's work, the partners are becoming more influential in society. They build democracy and influence politics to improve the working and living conditions of the workers and their families.

LO works to strengthen administrative, financial and project management of trade unions. LO wants to be a stable development partner, taking into consideration the priorities made by the cooperating partners and their needs. This can lead to a relevant and sustainable development of civil society.

LO's cooperating work is based on mapping of needs and collection of data through baseline studies, evaluations, project visits and dialogue with third parties. Organisational studies point to weaknesses where LO can provide solutions aided by its own history and experience. A common point identified is to strengthen trade unions member recruitment and membership management.

LO's organisational model is the so-called Norwegian model, which builds upon social dialogue between the trade unions, employers organisations and the state. The dialogue leads to improved employment, better distribution of wealth through collective bargaining, and equality. These elements will be present in all LO's projects. LO shares its own competence and experience with the partners and consistently promote equal representation and gender equality.

Analysis of how and where LO can make the most useful contributions to change (directly and indirectly)

As national trade unions with a high share of the workers as members, LO and partners can play a key role fighting against violations of workers' rights at country level, securing that existing workers' rights are respected and protected. LO and partners can also contribute to strengthening the respect
for workers' rights, through collective agreements and/or influencing national and international policies and legal framework.

For working women and men to collectively improve salaries and working conditions, LO and partners can play a key role in organising workers. LO can contribute with organisational competence to strengthen trade unions' recruitment and membership management.

LO and partners can play a role in fighting weak and non-existing collective agreements for workers, through developing dialogue between the partners in the work place or at sector level which paves the way for collective bargaining and agreements.
LO and partners can also play a key role in fighting inequalities and ill treatment in the labour market, both between women and men, as well as between migrant and non-migrant workers, securing equal representation of all groups of workers by the trade unions. Defending migrant workers' rights is
another key task for the trade unions.

Inequality within countries is most pronounced between those at the very top of the income bracket and those in the lowest and middle tiers of society. These are precisely the sectors that trade unions represent. LO, by supporting these unions are supporting their efforts to bargain for a more equality distribution of wealth in society. Inequality across countries is often tied to efforts by multinational enterprises to keep wages low in developing countries and bring large profits back to the home countries of multinational enterprises. By supporting unions in developing countries that bargains with multinational enterprises, LO supports efforts to ensure a greater share of wealth generated by
workers in developing countries remains in developing countries, thus reducing across-country inequality.

LO Norway considers there to be three core tasks of trade unions; recruitment of new members to ensure a high degree of organisation of workers, to secure collective bargaining and agreements, to ensure that all (groups of) workers are equally represented. This is grounded in the belief that workers are stronger as a collective and much more likely to achieve decent working conditions for all if when fighting for new rights and defending existing rights together. Additionally, in many of the
countries where LO works together with partners, trade unions have an important task of influencing national policies and legal framework to strengthen workers' rights. LO can support and accompany partners' advocacy efforts, strengthening competencies and sharing LO's skills, networks and experience with advocacy work. LO may also do advocacy to support trade unions in other countries in Norway and internationally.

What is not LO's role/What LO cannot do:
LO and partners do not have a key role in dealing with job creation and youth unemployment directly. Indirectly, through tripartite and bipartite social dialogue, issues of unemployment and job creation may be addressed when negotiating collective agreements as they may be factors in e.g. salary/wage negotiations and social benefits. LO and partners do not play a direct role in creating jobs. However, through social dialogue both LO and LO's partners can promote and push for an improved
government strategy on job creation. Youth unemployment challenges are indirectly addressed by youth structures in LO and partners, however it is not a core task of LO and partners. Rather they focus on organising youth and securing that youth have a voice through engaging more youth in decision making.

LO's planned pathways to change:

The diagram is informed by all of this analysis. It illustrates our overall pathway to change.

It is important to note that this overall pathway constitutes the “patterns of changes” that we expect to see as a result of our efforts.

This pattern will be reflected in all of our country programmes, but specific country contexts will determine which elements will be relevant. Country specific pathways to change will then be developed accordingly. These will include realistic and achievable goals and pathways that provide explicit sequences of change, and assumptions that will need to be tested along the way.

Assumptions we will need to test

Our Theory of Change is informed by our beliefs around how change will happen. We acknowledge that this is a hypothesis that will need to be tested. Specific areas that we want to test and/or verify are illustrated on the diagram as A1, A2 etc. They are as follows:

Assumptions relating to our ways of working:
- LO trains the “right people” in the most effective ways
- Trade union representatives are motivated/committed to serve the interests of the workers; to protect workers' rights, and that they are supported by their branch/sector/umbrella union in doing so.
- Trade union leaders are motivated to make positive changes for the inclusion of women/youth/migrant workers
- Trade union leaders encourage affiliates to see the advantages of paying dues.

Assumptions relating to how change really happens:
- Social dialogue is the most effective way to ensure better working conditions for workers.
- Collective agreements lead to improvements in decent pay, social protection and working conditions.
- When workers are organised, trade unions have a stronger voice and better able to defend workers’ rights.

How we will use our Theory of Change for ongoing critical reflection and adaptation of our plans.

We will ensure that there are opportunities for LO to reflect with partners annually on the following:
-     Changing contexts and how they have affected the programme
-     What has really changed for the different target groups and what it   means for the
-     How and where the programme has been able to contribute to these identified changes
-     Test the assumptions that were made at the beginning of the programme
-     How they should adapt elements of the programme as a result


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