World Day Of Social Justice is observed every year on February 20. The theme of this year’s World Social Justice Day is social justice in the digital economy. On November 26, 2007, the GA declared that February 20 will be celebrated annually as the World Day of Social Justice. The International Labour Organization unanimously adopted the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization on 10 June 2008. This is the third major statement of principles and policies adopted by the International Labour Conference since the ILO’s Constitution of 1919. It builds on the Philadelphia Declaration of 1944 and the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of 1998. The 2008 Declaration expresses the contemporary vision of the ILO’s mandate in the era of globalization.

 

5 key principles of social Justice:

  1. Access to resources
  2. Equity
  3. Participation
  4. Diversity
  5. Human Rights

The digital economy is transforming the world of work. Over the past decade, expansion in broadband connectivity, cloud computing, and data have led to the proliferation of digital platforms, which have penetrated several sectors of the economy and societies. Since early 2020, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to remote working arrangements and allowed for the continuation of many business activities, further reinforcing the growth and impact of the digital economy. The crisis has also laid bare and exacerbated the growing digital divide within, between and across developed and developing countries, particularly in terms of the availability, affordability and use of information ICTs and access to the internet, deepening existing inequalities.

 

The UN has chosen this year’s Social Justice Day to shed some light on the basic rights of workers who have now shifted to digital platforms, especially of those in the global South, whose lives are impacted by a lack of proper digital infrastructure too.

While digital labour platforms provide workers with income-generating opportunities and benefits from flexible work arrangements, including for women, persons with disabilities, young people, and migrant workers, they also present some challenges. For workers, these relate to the regularity of work and income, their rights to fair working conditions, social protection and adequate standard of living, skills utilization, and the right to form or join trade unions. Algorithmic monitoring practices, in some cases augmenting to workplace surveillance, are also a growing concern. Consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are exposing the risks and inequalities of workers engaged in location-based platforms. For traditional businesses, the challenges include unfair competition from platforms, some of which are not subject to conventional taxation and other obligations because of their novel nature, including with respect to their workforce. Another challenge for traditional businesses is the amount of funding required to continuously adapt to digital transformations, especially for small and medium enterprises, and inadequate availability of reliable digital infrastructure, in the global South.

 

 

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