May 1st is also a Day for the Self-employed Workers

Millions of independent workers around the world are far from reaching the levels of social protection achieved by the working class internationally.

For the Union of Professionals and Self-Employed workers (UPTA), 1st May celebrates the commemoration of all the models and systems of work, including the work for own-account or self-employed, done by hundreds of millions of workers around the world.

In Spain two million workers pursue their activities independently, without being salaried to employees, and only the last ten years have managed to get certain levels of social protection, which today are in danger again by being put in doubt by questioning certain areas of the social status that affect them directly.

In the European Union there are more than 27 million self-employed workers without employees, who do not even have a common legal status, which expelled them out from the European system of protection and recognition of their social rights. European self-employed workers do not participate in Social dialogues, and don’t have recognised representation at community levels.

On the international level we don’t even have a minimally reliable statistics of the weight that self-employment has. The International Labour Organisation estimated that approximately half a billion people throughout the world develop independent economic activities not subject to the Labour law, activities that are closer to the informal economy than actual work.

This 1st May the Union Of Professionals And Self-Employed Workers of Spain (UPTA) wants to appeal to worldwide independent workers who are an associative system itself, but in solidarity with the rest of the labor models, to make progress in its social conquest, which today still in many countries are far from the victories that they reached after the first protest movements that emerged in the wake of this date. Governments must respect and recognize these specific associative systems.

UPTA recently participated in the Directive Board of the international organisation StreetNet, the primary Association of independent workers, an entity recognised by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the ILO.

StreetNet represents, in particular the workers who ply their trade or services mainly on the street or at home, and has become the most appropriate associative expression for the millions of workers who have sought a solution to many needs of survival and employment.

From Streenet, UPTA Spain offers its collaboration and solidarity with all workers, in particular in countries that are still under development, and authoritarian political regimes, but with emerging economies. They seek the legalisation of their work and the recognition of the dignity of the economic activities that launched on their own.

UPTA also takes advantage of the celebration of the 1st May 2013 to remind us of the need that the steps taken in previous years in our country in order to recognise the rights of self-employed workers and minimum levels of social protection, must be upheld in these difficult economic times, and there can be no step back in the maintenance of rights already established by our group.