Resolution on International Labor Protection Legislation

A resolution of the 1st World Congress of the Socialist 2nd International, held in Paris, France in 1889.

Proletarians of all countries, unite!

RESOLUTION ON INTERNATIONAL LABOR PROTECTION LEGISLATION

LEGAL REGULATION OF THE WORKING DAY
DAY WORK, NIGHT WORK, SUNDAY AND HOLIDAY WORK, WORKING HOURS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE, FEMALE AND CHILD LABOR
SUPERVISION OF LARGE-SCALE AND SMALL-SCALE INDUSTRIES, INCLUDING DOMESTIC INDUSTRY

1st World Congress
Socialist 2nd International
20.07.1889

Reproduced by
The Red Flag

This Resolution was adopted at the International Socialist Congress in Paris, France, in July 1889.

RESOLUTION ON INTERNATIONAL LABOR PROTECTION LEGISLATION

The Paris International Workers‘ Congress:

In the conviction that the emancipation of labour and humanity can only proceed from the proletariat organized internationally as a class which gains political power in order to set in motion the expropriation of capitalism and the social seizure of the means of production:

Considering:

  • That the capitalist mode of production, in its rapid development, gradually pulls all countries into modern culture;

  • That this development of the capitalist mode of production signifies the increasing exploitation of the workers;

  • That ever more intense exploitation is causing political oppression, economic subjugation, and physical as well as moral degeneration of the working class;

  • That as a result it is the duty of the workers of all countries to use all means at their disposal to combat a social organization which oppresses them and threatens any free development of humanity in general; but that it is above all a question of offering active resistance to the destructive effects of the present economic order;

the Congress decides:

Effective labour protection legislation is absolutely necessary in all countries ruled by the capitalist mode of production.

As a basis for this legislation, the Congress demands:

  • Fixing of a maximum working day of 8 hours for young workers;

  • Prohibition of work for children under 14 years of age and reduction of the working day to 6 hours for both sexes;

  • Prohibition of night work, except for certain industries, the nature of which requires uninterrupted operation;

  • Prohibition of women‘s work in all branches of industry, the mode of operation of which has a particularly harmful effect on women‘s bodies;

  • Night work prohibited for women and young workers under the age of 18;

  • Uninterrupted rest of at least 36 hours a week for all workers;

  • Prohibition of those branches of industry and operating modes with predictable risks to the health of the workers;

  • Prohibition of the truck system;

  • Prohibition of wage payment in groceries, as well as [in tokens for] the entrepreneur‘s general store (canteens, and so on);

  • Prohibition of intermediate contractors (sweating system);

  • Prohibition of private work certification bureaus;

  • Supervision of all workshops and industrial establishments, including domestic industry, by factory inspectors paid by the state and at least half elected by the workers.

Congress declares that all these measures necessary for the recovery of social conditions are to be made the subject of international laws and treaties, and calls on the proletarians of all countries to influence their governments in this way. Once such laws and treaties have been obtained, their application and enforcement should be monitored in order to implement them more thoroughly.

Congress further declares that it is the duty of the workers to accept women workers into their ranks with equal rights, and as a matter of principle demands equal wages for equal work for workers of both sexes and regardless of nationality.

In order to achieve the complete emancipation of the proletariat, Congress considers it absolutely necessary that the workers everywhere organize themselves and consequently demands the unrestricted, total right to free association and combination.