The Work We Want

Cagliari (Italy). The 48th Social Week of Italian Catholics was held on October 26-29, 2017 at the International Fair of Sardegna. There were over 1,000 delegates from the whole of Italy: 80 Bishops, 190 priests, 300 volunteers, 200 journalists, 400 positive experiences of the Project ‘Job Seekers’. For four days, the participants were involved in presentations, round tables, sharing of good practices, and 90 work tables to discuss the theme: “The Work We Want: free, creative, participative, in solidarity”.

The world of work is changing so quickly it revolutionizes life styles and ethical models. It regards changes that bring huge questions: “What does human work mean today? What should be the (new) rights and duties of the worker? How to defeat unemployment and which ongoing formation can prepare those who are already working on future changes? And we still ask: which skills to manage the rapport between the worker and the robot machine? What knowledge should young people invest in? And finally, as in all epochal changes, which forms of effective protection for 'dignified work' must be found at industry time 4.0?”.

Professor Alessandra Smerilli, FMA and lecturer at the Pontifical Faculty of the Science of Education Auxilium, participated at the 48th Social Week of Italian Catholics as a member of the Scientific Committee and Organizer. She coordinated the session of October 28th, following the transmission of the Docufilm “the work we want”, by the Director Andrea Salvatore. "We wanted to pay special attention to listening to work because work is never an abstraction but a work of concrete people, affirmed Sr. Alessandria when introducing the Docufilm. Work well done is the red thread that crosses the film. She added, “We are at a time in which the transformations of work and its conditions are very fast: timetables, contracts, times, and ways. In the face of these themes, we wanted to take a journey to listen, to narrate, and to interpret work, and to bring out guidelines for dignified work. It is a documentary about the work we want and the work we have in Italy. The desire is to glue together stories and future to bring out all the possibilities for dignified work. "

“The dignity of work is the condition for creating good work: however, we need to defend it and promote it”. In his video-message to the participants, the Pope asked that we overcome the logic of “a soulless globalization that is more attentive to profits than to people; it has created widespread pockets of poverty, unemployment, exploitation, and social malaise” and to create economic conditions that favor healthy entrepreneurship and adequate levels of employment. Politics has the duty to focus especially on reactivating a virtuous circle that, from investments that favor the family and education, allows the harmonious and peaceful development of the entire civil community. “The central aspect of our agreement was the sense that work is identified with dignified work”.

Msgr. Filippo Santoro, Archbishop of Taranto and President of the Scientific Committee and organizer of the Social Week, at the conclusion of the Social Week at Cagliari reminded us of this. “Work responds to the need of the person, to their basic needs which are for bread, for fulfillment, for meaning, for justice, for happiness, for the infinite. For this purpose, it is worth the daily sweat, fatigue, and sacrifice, but also the proper rest. In work done with meaning, and thus well done, one builds the person, family, society, thus carrying on the work of God's creation."

The proposal of the 48th edition of the Social Week of Italian Catholics is that precisely the new centrality of work mark the way to go, becoming the cornerstone of an unprecedented intergenerational alliance capable of saving young people from stagnation and the elderly from a progressive loss of protection.

“Creating a favorable environment for work that recognizes the dignity of the workers and engages them in the production of a value that is not only economic, makes competition sustainable and allows us to face the challenge of digitalization”, concluded Santoro. “To do a quantity of work, we must focus on its quality: going from a subsistence economy – like manufacturing and exploitation – to an economy of existence – producing, that is, knowing how to live and knowing how to do is the way to save both”. In a word: “Humanize work”.

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