Building Workers' Power
ITUC Newsletter - June 2020
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary
Virtual meetings have become the norm for many of us as the world continues to try to contain the spread of Covid-19.
While nothing can replace time together in person, the virtual launch of the 2020 ITUC Global Rights Index brought together over three hundred people from sixty-one different countries.
The 2020 Global Rights Index has exposed the breakdown of the social contract with violations of workers’ rights at a seven-year high. The ten worst countries for working people in 2020 are Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Turkey and Zimbabwe.
The Global Day of Action to Climate- and Employment-Proof Our Work took place on 24 June with 65 trade unions and civil society organisations in 30 countries taking part in virtual and in-person activities. Unions know that jobs and employment are serious concerns for the majority of people, and that’s why we need to have the conversation about both climate and employment.
We will be continuing these conversations as we support recovery and resilience plans which should address both job creation and action on climate.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brutally exposed the fault lines of the global divide between those that have universal social protection, including health and income support, and those that don’t. The ITUC is preparing a global campaign to support a Global Social Protection Fund to build economies and be the foundation of resilience for people weathering future shocks.
We held a virtual Executive Bureau to ensure our governance procedures are fulfilled despite the restrictions on travel during the pandemic. The Executive Bureau confirmed the decision to host the 2022 ITUC World Congress in Melbourne the week of 4th July 2022.
Welcoming the decision, Michelle O'Neil, President ACTU told the Executive Bureau, “Friends I want to let you know how pleased and honoured the Australian union movement will be to welcome you to the ITUC World Congress in Melbourne, Australia in 2022. Australian unions look forward to sharing our hospitality and solidarity. We know that by coming together we will build global workers power.”
ILO Global Summit on Covid-19 and the World of Work - Building a better future of work
The ILO Global Summit will provide a high-profile platform for government, employers and a limited number of worker representatives, and other high-level actors, to address the economic and social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The presentations and discussions can be followed by all.
The summit will be an opportunity to discuss the challenges and responses of countries and regions that are battling with the pandemic and of those that are starting the recovery process. A concept note provides further details on the rationale, context and main topics for discussion and invites participants to draw on the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work in the immediate response to the pandemic and as a framework for building back better in the post-pandemic recovery.
ILO Global Summit Dates
Virtual regional events will take place on 1–2 July, followed by three virtual global events on 7–9 July, which viewers in all time zones will be able to follow.
More information on the concept note, and how to follow the virtual events, is here.
UN High-level Political Forum
Trade unions around the world have been supporting the Time for 8 Campaign ahead of the UN HLPF 7-16 July for a New Social Contract with SDG 8 at its core and decent work for all. with actions online and in your country.
Unions will fight to ensure that full employment and decent work remain the foundations of our economies, and a New Social Contract is a vital start as we design economic recovery and resilience plans that will support workers from future shocks and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary
The breakdown of the social contract has been exposed in the 2020 ITUC Global Rights Index with violations of workers’ rights at a seven-year high.
A global jobs crisis is sweeping across the world with trade unions in eighty-seven percent of countries surveyed reporting that companies have announced they are laying off workers as a result of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
To ensure a resilient world economy that will sustain a Covid-19 recovery conducive to social progress, governments must now take decisive legislative action, according to a new ITUC report, “Towards mandatory due diligence in global supply chains”.