Building Workers' Power

ITUC Newsletter - September 2020

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Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary

Covid-19 is testing the ability of world leaders to come together in global solidarity to fight a common enemy that threatens all of us.

The 2020 ITUC Global Poll – covering half the world’s population and released this month – shows that working people are struggling with a global wages slump. Three quarters of people (75 percent) say their income has stagnated or fallen behind.

The economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic have been layered on top of a pre-existing crisis of low-wage and insecure jobs. According to the ITUC Global Poll, every second person has no financial buffer, no ability to save for the tough times ahead and relies on every pay cheque to survive. Without savings or a safety net, millions of people entered the pandemic with a choice between working or starving.

Support for jobs, a Global Social Protection Fund and equal access to a vaccine are critical issues for workers as we plan for an economic recovery that builds resilience against future shocks.

Our statement to the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers meeting in September sets out a comprehensive plan to tackle the social and economic impacts of the crisis, with employment, social protection, fundamental rights and vital investment in recovery and resilience at the heart of the global response. Women and young people must be at the centre of recovery plans.

Over the past few months, unions have been at the forefront of fights for democracy from Belarus to Cambodia, Hong Kong to Somalia – which could see its first universal suffrage election in 2021. Your solidarity demonstrates how the global union movement stands for democratic rights and freedoms.

Thank you for your solidarity and continued pressure for the rights of migrant workers in Qatar. New labour laws now regularise the industrial relations system and establish the first minimum wage in the Gulf state. This is a game changer in the protection of workers’ rights.

The first General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) since the Covid-19 pandemic is a chance for governments to renew their commitment to recovery and resilience and to global cooperation to deliver the SDGs by 2030. We will make the case for a New Social Contract, based on democracies for people that change the rules of the global economy and deliver a Just Transition for people and planet.

On the World Day for Decent Work (#WDDW), 7 October, working people will be demanding a new social contract for recovery and resilience. Let us know your activities around WDDW (webinars, virtual events, social actions, etc.): email [email protected]; share your stories on social media with the hashtag #wddw20. We are preparing share graphics in multiple languages. They will be available soon on our Trello page.

Covid-19 has disrupted everyone’s life in some way, but working people are saying this is not a time to allow hard-won progress to be lost. This is the time to change the rules and make economies and democracies work for people and the planet.

In solidarity,

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary

Call to Action - UN General Assembly

ITUC Global Poll 2020 shows urgent need to repair the Social Contract

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The annual global poll commissioned by the 200 million-member International Trade Union Confederation shows working people and their families were living on the edge before the pandemic that stopped the world – Covid-19.


A new dawn for migrant workers in Qatar

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New laws adopted today by the State of Qatar are a game changer in the protection of workers’ rights.

G20: Global trade unions call for urgent and comprehensive action on jobs, recovery and resilience

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The international trade union movement is calling on the G20 governments to act urgently and decisively to protect and promote employment as the world faces continuing destruction of jobs and economic activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Upcoming dates

UN General Assembly 
15-30 September

International Equal Pay Day
18 September

International Day of Peace
21 September

Experts’ meeting on Global Social Protection Fund 
22-23 September

Global Day of Climate Action
25 September

International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

26 September

World Day for Decent Work 
7 October


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