European Christian Workers Movement (ECWM) expresses its full support to all the initiatives taking place on 3rd March that is the International Free-Work Sunday Day. In this year 2020, the ECWM offers the following reflection.
In the world of work we are in a new situation that asks us to open new paths to fraternity, solidarity and sensitivity to suffering and injustice so that it is possible for people to be and to live. The social model in which we live, shaped mainly by the way of human work is conceived and treated, is a great obstacle for social organization and social relations and institutions to favour what they should always serve: that people can realize their being and can live according to their dignity, that we can realize our humanity in image and likeness of God. This is what is radically at stake today and for the future: that people can realize their being and live according to their dignity, and it is very important that we really take charge of this situation in which the social model that has been configured places us:
- The relationship between employment and family has been broken, in the sense that, increasingly, instability in employment disrupts and destabilizes the family. Employment as a family support is increasingly weak.
- The relationship between employment and life time, between employment and a stable life model in which work, family, personal and social life times are relatively limited and in which the worker can combine work, family and rest times and exercise some control over them, has been broken. In the current model, the profound flexibility and variability of employment time (including the unemployed who look for a job) becomes, in practice, into permanent availability, constant instability, continuous changes... that invade and make increasingly difficult family, personal, social life time...
It's not just about working less to work all of us. The reduction of the working day is an essential condition to face the enormous socio-environmental problem: the discarding of people and the mistreatment of the common house, the planet, and to free a time to recover forces and to consume, and to allow to develop other necessary times for our human growth: family, relations with others, culture, spirit, sport, political commitment... Without time released for consciously socialized work, dependent work, which is often "inhumane work, slave-labour"1, will continue to be the main source of alienation and physical and cultural impoverishment for more and more people.
"The person "is not only work"; there are other human needs that we must cultivate and consider, such as family, friends and rest. It is important, therefore, to remember that any work must be at the service of the person, not the person in the service of work, and this implies that we must question the structures that damage or exploit people, families, societies and our mother earth.”2
(1) Pope Francis. Pastoral visit to Cagliari, Italy. Meeting with the world of work. Speech of September 22nd, 2013
(2) Pope Francis. Letter to Cardinal Peter K. A. Turkson on the occasion of the International Conference "From Populorum Progressio to Laudato si'. 23rd November, 2017