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DECENT WORK NOW!

Whether online or on the street, GCAP Germany --´Deine Stimme Gegen Armut´ or ´Your Voice Against Poverty´ - is on message: as long as world poverty exists, we must not stop making noise and campaign for a good standard of living for all.

Having committed to “Leave No One Behind”, we are vocal in our efforts to tackle the growing gap between rich and poor both at home and abroad, writes GCAP Germany's Max Beckmann.


The promise of a living wage, basic social security and welfare benefits would protect employees from falling into the poverty trap.

But here in Germany, one in four people earn less than 9,15 euros per hour – barely enough to provide basic necessities for themselves and their families. Globally, more than a quarter of all workers are denied a decent income.

Faced with these injustices, GCAP Germany has called on the German government to introduce a legally binding minimum wage that is high enough to ensure good living standards for all employees. In addition, employment rights, labour standards and gender equality should be at the centre of global trade negotiations.

Pressure on our Politicians

The September 2013 elections gave GCAP Germany the perfect chance to raise the issue of Decent Work with prospective German policymakers.

We adopted an innovative email program to put German voters directly in touch with political candidates. Participants spoke out against inequality in the workplace, exploitative practices and insubstantial wages and urged politicians to effect change.

The response was enormous: 3,329 individual voters took part, sending nearly 25,000 emails sent to hundreds of candidates. As a result, 246 politicians agreed to take action on our demands and published their political promise on our homepage. 157 of these were subsequently elected to parliament.

Together with German voters, we're now monitoring the candidates and reminding them of their commitments to decent work.

People Power to Fight Poverty

Another highlight of GCAP Germany's campaign is a popular music festival called Weltfest am Boxi, which offers the politically motivated an opportunity to speak out against global injustice.

With fantastic food, stimulating songs and a motivating message, the day-long festival proves that political action can really draw a crowd. Some 4,500 visitors were invited to sign petitions and write emails to their local political candidate calling for Decent Work, both here in Germany and abroad.

 


With over 40 stands from a range of political groups -- including Armutsnetzwerk, led by people who have experienced poverty, as well as CARE, die Kindernothilfe, fian, Bezev and Das Hunger Projekt -- getting involved was easier than ever. Stalls selling snacks from around the world made sure that everyone was well-fed and primed for action throughout the day. Speakers from Germany and Bangladesh gave their personal accounts of the effects of poverty and why the fight has not yet been won. All this against the background of uplifting music, from Chile, Nigeria and Berlin, which came with a call to action: poverty can and should be eradicated!

Through these campaigns, we have partnered with a number of other civil society actors including Armutsnetzwerk and the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC). Organisations lobbying for decent work at home and abroad -- such as the large German trade union Verdi and AWO Deutschland, which worked with us on our email campaign -- are also invaluable partners.

Plans for Progress

GCAP´s pledge to ´Leave No One Behind´ has to be combined with action to prevent the most impoverished from slipping through the net.

The overwhelming response to the email tool demonstrates that the German people want Decent Work to be a priority for German ministers. We're already planning a follow-up campaign which will kick off on 28 April, World Day for Safety and Health at Work. We are determined to make sure that our politicians honour their commitments, not only during the election campaign but also in parliament. We won´t let them forget that their work in the Bundestag could help to establish Decent Work at home and worldwide.

Supporters of GCAP Germany's "Your Voice Against Poverty" sign an online petition and send emails to politicians calling for Decent Work.