Building Workers' Power

ITUC Newsletter - November 2020

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Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary

Democracy prevailed in the US last week where voters elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next President and Vice-President. This has restored faith in the power of people to organise and use the democratic vote to effect change. The challenge is now national and multilateral reform that puts jobs, rights, social protection and inclusion at the heart of a new social contract.

The ITUC General Council will meet this month to approve the 2021 Frontlines Campaigns and Four Pillars for Action. This is an ambitious plan to respond to the social economic and health consequences of COVID-19 and build workers power.

The urgent need to respond to the consequences of the pandemic has not been appreciated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank that effectively wasted their annual meetings. No major decisions were taken, in particular to support developing countries where the Covid-19 crisis is having the most severe impact. As we said, it has never been clearer that these institutions need urgent reform as they risk falling into complete irrelevance.

G20 leaders will meet for a summit on 21-22 November. The L20 has called on leaders to  invest in jobs, protect rights and living wages, ensure universal social protection and a Just Transition.

Job creation plans to build economic recovery and resilience must be demanded of all governments as we move on from just-in-time policy responses to the pandemic. We need investment in jobs, climate friendly jobs and the care economy.

The reasons for investing in the care economy are clear: it benefits the whole economy, reduces gender inequality and strengthens society. We laid out the details of a set of demands from global unions during the global day of action, Invest In Care, Now!. Covid-19 makes it vital that this happens now. We have all seen how important care workers have been during the pandemic, and they are equally important to building recovery and resilience.

One organisation that sorely needs to learn this lesson is Amazon. Join the day of action on 27 November to Make Amazon Pay and remind the company that its greatest asset is its workers and by listening to them the company will be strengthened, not weakened. Amazon has made record amounts of money during this pandemic, it must share its success with the very people who have made it possible.

We must all play our part in defending democracy. On 18th November, please join us for a webinar to learn more about trade union election organising to support democracy with a focus on Somalia and the USA. You can register for the webinar here.

In solidarity,

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary

Call to Action

Invest in care now! For recovery and resilience

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October 29 marks an international day of action on care for trade unions and civil society around the world.


IMF/World Bank: Inaction on Global Economic Crisis

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The Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have failed to step up to the gravity of the global economic crisis, in particular for developing countries, where the economic outlook continues to worsen. No major decisions were taken to support these countries, and the initial emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic is becoming too little as the crisis wears on.

Haiti: End the Silence over Erosion of Democracy

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The international community is ignoring one of the worst humanitarian and social crises in the history of Haiti, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Upcoming dates

Committee on Workers’ Capital: Virtual Workers’ Capital Conference
16 – 19 November 

Defending Democracy webinar
18 November

G20 leader’s summit
21-22 November

ITUC General Council
24-25 November
Amazon Black Friday

27 November

Global day of action for the Philippines
30 November

World Aids Day
1 December

International Day for Abolition of Slavery
2 December

International Day of Persons with Disabilities
3 December

Human Rights Day
10 December


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