6.17 Does the Church support workers or employers? Is the right to property Christian? Can I move work to ‘cheap countries’? Does the Church discriminate against women?
Employees and employers need each other. Both work towards their holiness or sanctification. The right to work is related to the right to a salary. Jesus said that “the labourer deserves to be paid” (Lk 10:7). Connected to this is the right to keep your pay and use it as you deem proper. That is the basis for the right to private property.
Profit should never be the unique aim of an enterprise. Moving work to ‘cheap countries’ may seem interesting from the point of view of profit. It may even give some people over there a decent local salary. However, at the same time, working opportunities are lost in your home country. A proper discernment is needed. The same is true for giving men and women equal opportunities. They are absolutely equal in value and have different qualities to offer. Also the Church has not always sufficiently valued the contribution of women, who were greatly esteemed by Jesus.
What responsibility does the State have in regard to labour?
It is the role of the State to guarantee individual freedom and private property, as well as a stable currency and efficient public services. It is also the State’s responsibility to oversee and direct the exercise of human rights in the economic sector. According to circumstances, society must help citizens to find work [CCCC 515].
What are the duties of workers?
They must carry out their work in a conscientious way with competence and dedication, seeking to resolve any controversies with dialogue. Recourse to a non-violent strike is morally legitimate when it appears to be the necessary way to obtain a proportionate benefit and it takes into account the common good [CCCC 517].
The socialists, working on the poor man's envy of the rich, are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the state or by municipal bodies… They would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the state, and create utter confusion in the community. It is surely undeniable that, when a man engages in remunerative labour, the impelling reason and motive of his work is to obtain property, and thereafter to hold it as his very own [Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum, 4-5].