Everyone has the right to work. The right to work is a basis for the realisation of other human rights and for a life in dignity. It includes the opportunity to earn a living through freely chosen or accepted work. Fundamental to this is, on the one hand, the availability of employment opportunities and, on the other, ensuring non-discrimination in all aspects of work. Forced labour is prohibited under international law.
Closely related to the right to work are the right to just and favourable conditions of work and trade union-related rights, i.e. fair wages, equal pay for equal work, the guarantee of a minimum wage, safe and healthy working conditions, adequate working hours and rest periods, and respect for human dignity in relation to all types of work. Workers must also be guaranteed the right to organise and bargain collectively for better working conditions and living standards. They must have the right to form and join a trade union of their choice and to strike.
Many human rights violations occur at the beginning of supply chains, e.g. child labour on plantations or the displacement of people for mining projects. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights stipulate that companies proactively and systematically analyse the risks along their entire supply chain and then take measures that address the extent and scope of human rights violations and their own ability to influence them. Central elements of the UN Guiding Principles are transparency and reporting. These must ensure that companies actually address possible human rights violations and environmental damage, uncover grievances and take appropriate action.
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