The conventional date of May 1, as Workers’ Day or Labor Day, was established for Europe in Paris in 1889. Italy ratified the date two years after Paris. It is an international holiday celebrated in numerous countries worldwide; this date was chosen to commemorate the workers’ struggles for improved working conditions that began on May 1, 1886, in Chicago (United States). The battle lasted for several days and culminated in the deaths of several workers and police officers. During the 20-year fascist period, Labor Day was celebrated on April 21; but in 1945, after the end of the world conflict, the date returned to May 1 with status as a national civil holiday. In Italy, this holiday is remembered mainly for the unfortunate episode of the massacre at Portella della Ginestra in the province of Palermo, which occurred in 1947. During a demonstration of festive workers, shots were fired on the procession of about two thousand people. The gunfire resulted in eleven dead and about fifty wounded. Historically, Salvatore Giuliano’s gang has been blamed for the massacre. However, other sources claim it was the “secret services” that organized it to discredit in the eyes of the citizens, precisely Salvatore Giuliano.
For a long time, the issue of stress in the workplace was seen as something only Western countries were affected by. However, no matter where you are, no employee is spared from that problem that decreases company productivity and worker motivation. So basically, stress as work is also present in emerging countries. While in the past many countries in the South did not take this problem seriously, this is no longer the case. As of now, many of these countries officially take the issue seriously. Developing countries no longer ignore the problem of stress at work, such as psychosocial problems and their impact on the economy. So despite no official statistics, the problem is still tangible in Africa. Therefore, African countries are now worrying about it even though we cannot measure it. It is even more true to know that official numbers exist only for rich countries. In Europe, about 30 percent of workers admit to facing stress. This is at least what the Eurostat Union 2009 statistical study report revealed. In the United States, the cost of stress at work (absenteeism, less productivity, sick days, etc.) was estimated at $300 billion in 2010 (202 billion euros). Without data on the issue in emerging and developing countries, the International Labor Organization (ILO) decided to focus on the problem. This organization which focuses mainly on labor issues, chose to organize the World Day for Occupational Safety and Health. The ILO has launched an entire study on this topic. The study’s results should clearly explain the stress-related situation at work, with the same objective. Remember that China has approached the ILO to establish psychosocial risk management tools.
There are 168 million children in the world who are forced to work to survive. They are between 5 and 14 years old and often perform hazardous activities in exchange for starvation wages. There is also good news in the latest report from ilo, the international labor organization. These very young workers have decreased by a third since 2008. It should be noted, however, that 5 million children and adolescents continue to live in situations of slavery. Out of a total of 168 million, 78 million are in Asia. More than 9 percent of the children are in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. There are 59 million, or 21 percent, in Latin America, and in the Caribbean, 13 million, just under 9 percent. 9.2 million in the middle east, north Africa equals 8.4 percent of the local child population. The phenomenon is particularly prevalent in the suburbs of the megacities of India to New Delhi.
Many children are ragpickers-a high-risk activity under a 1986 child labor law that India’s parliament may soon amend. Many children are ten years old and have been working since 5 a.m. They often hurt their hands picking up trash rags, making the smell unbearable. They must, however, but have to help their parents. Parents often say they have no choice but to make their daughters and sons work. Parents usually cannot support their children unless they work. If one does not work, one cannot find the money to survive. Despite this, even if the children work, one can barely scrape together 400 500 rupees a day, equivalent to 7 euros.
WORK THAT REWARDS
Africa is working hard on several fronts to progress and grow more and more. The first area is decolonization. At the end of World War II in 1945, almost all African countries were under colonial rule or administration. After the founding the United Nations in 1945 and its massive decolonization effort, Africa is now virtually free from colonial rule. In 2011, South Sudan became Africa’s newest country when it gained independence from the rest of Sudan. The second critical area is economic growth. The continent’s economy grew by about 3.4 percent in 2019, creating one of Africa’s most extended periods of uninterrupted positive economic expansion. As a result, more Africans joined the middle class each year. However, in 2020, Africa experienced a GDP contraction of 3.4 percent. The country is expected to achieve a modest recovery in 2021, scheduled on rising export and commodity prices and increasing domestic demand. The third area is the promotion of women. In 11 African countries, women hold nearly a third of the seats in parliaments, according to Women in Parliament in 2020. At 61 percent, Rwanda has the highest percentage of women parliamentarians worldwide. Africa has the highest rate of regional female entrepreneurial activity in the world. One in four women starts or runs a business. Rwanda and Namibia, two sub-Saharan African countries, belong to the top ten most gender-equal countries, according to the World Global Gender Gap Report 2021.
ONLINE WORK AFRICA
Remote work presents some complexities for companies in Africa. Challenges that arise from working remotely include power problems, Internet connectivity, distractions due to limited space, financial difficulties, and social issues. Energy or electricity is not constant for some countries. In many African nations where the electricity supply is erratic or simply unavailable will limit work hours and eventually affect productivity. This means that citizens may not have direct electricity from the government for several hours a day, week, or month. We are used to using alternatives such as generators, inverters, power banks, and solar-powered devices. While government-provided electricity is not free, it is generally cheaper than the alternatives. The main challenge is ensuring that our team members have constant electricity during their shifts. They will most likely experience a power outage at some point. In much of Africa, we are seeing a lack of progress in network coverage, extension of access, and low bandwidth. Affordability is also declining in many nations.
The trajectory of extreme working poverty among young people in Africa is declining. Although still higher than the global average, it is declining at a higher rate than the global trend, from 42.1 percent in 2012 to 38.4 percent in 2019. It is expected to decrease to 37.6 percent and 36.9 percent in 2020 and 2021. The decline in extreme poverty could reflect the overall increase in the African middle class, with many households moving out of poverty altogether. The gender gap has remained small and is declining. However, it is expected to increase slightly in 2020 and 2021. High poverty rates in Africa reflect the poor quality of work that young people and their families do, especially in the informal economy. A recent ILO study (2018) showed that most young people aged 15-24 (94.9 percent) are informally employed, uneducated, poorly educated, of rural origin, and engage mainly in subsistence agriculture. However, even educated young people find refuge in the informal economy.
CHALLENGES IN AFRICA
Critical challenges for North Africa include high unemployment and youth unemployment (SDG targets 8.5, 8.6, and 8.8).The youth unemployment rate in North Africa is the highest of all regions, reaching 45 percent for young women. Addressing this challenge is particularly important, as high unemployment rates have been linked to political instability in the area. Uneven social protection (SDG target 1.3): coverage of social protection systems, including social assistance, is rough and fragmented in the North African region. Pension coverage varies across the region, reaching 30-40% of the labor force in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia.But reaching a tiny percentage of the population in countries such as Sudan. In addition, informal workers are not covered by any social protection scheme.
Critical challenges for sub-Saharan Africa include decent work (SDG target 8.5): despite relatively low unemployment rates and high labor force participation, underemployment, in-work poverty, and poor job quality remain significant problems. ILO labor standards: ratification of the ILO Core Conventions is high in the region: only six countries have not ratified one or more of the eight Core Conventions. However, countries in the region lack sufficient institutional capacity for enforcement, as evidenced by widespread violations of core standards (SDG target 8.8). Social dialogue and collective bargaining: effective social dialogue is necessary for inclusive and sustainable growth. While data are insufficient to fully assess the state of social dialogue and collective bargaining in the region.Union density is generally low (below 5 percent; highest in South Africa at 24.9 percent (2008)). Joint bargaining coverage is generally at or below 10 percent of total employment (SDG 9).