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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

“A job is about more than money”: Jean marks International Workers’ Day

1 May 2019

Today marks International Workers’ Day, an opportunity to celebrate workers and push for the improvement of their rights.

Jean Lambert, London’s Green MEP, said:

“On the 1st of May, across Europe and the world, we are celebrating workers and the importance of protecting workers’ rights.

We are never going to be able to transform our economies, both locally and across the world, without the involvement and engagement of workers.

A job is about a lot more than money. It’s about dignity and respect. It’s about a place within a community.

The health, well-being, and societal benefits of reduced working hours and better work-life balance are increasingly understood and acknowledged. But extreme and widening levels of pay inequality and excessive over-work for some workers are not economically or socially just, and cannot provide a sound basis for truly sustainable societies.

It’s a sad reality that many workers today, including in agriculture, catering, health and care services, or on zero hours contracts, are experiencing exploitation – internationally, but also in the UK.

Unpaid work also needs special attention. This takes place on a large scale, especially by women. It is not economic in the narrow sense of being undertaken for a wage, yet it is of immense value to the well-being of society.

The climate emergency (and keeping within 1.5 degrees temperature rise) requires big changes to the way we work within our economies. Creating a circular economy where nothing is wasted is of central importance. Green jobs must be major job creation areas and should reduce the consumption of energy and raw materials, limit greenhouse gas emissions, minimise waste and pollution, protect and restore ecosystems and enable enterprises and communities to adapt to climate change.

Green politics is about building a socially, environmentally, and economically just and sustainable future for everybody. This must include better legal protection of workers’ rights locally and internationally. Workers also need to be fully involved in a just transition to a zero carbon, zero emissions economy. Climate science and the recent climate protests are telling us we need to build this future today.”