As we approach one year since the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic, the latest report from the International Labour Organization (ILO) confirms the scale of the crisis: the equivalent of 255 million full-time jobs were lost in 2020, and it is projected that 130 million additional jobs could be lost in 2021. More than 1.5 billion workers are in desperate situations in the informal sector of economies.
The ITUC Job Cuts Tracker has monitored publicly reported job losses. More jobs are under threat where job and wage support measures are being withdrawn, putting more workers and their families at risk. The reality of the effects of Covid-19 on working people must be understood by governments and multilateral organisations.
That is why we are coordinating the Covid-19 Reality Project – video stories from working people to show how the crisis has affected our work, our communities and our health.
We will share the videos around 11 March 2021 – the anniversary of the pandemic. Please go to the ITUC website here to see how you can get involved.
In 2020 we made the call for a New Social Contract to ensure recovery and resilience. In 2021 we need to ensure that the five demands from working people to deliver a New Social Contract are at the heart of political lobbying and social dialogue nationally and globally.
Workers need jobs – climate-friendly jobs. They demand rights for all workers, along with mandated due diligence to hold corporations accountable. They demand universal social protection and equality of income, gender and race. And workers are calling for inclusion that ensures peace as a basis for a new economic development model that provides opportunities for generations of people everywhere. The demands of workers must be at the heart of a just recovery.
The pandemic anniversary makes the 2021 International Women’s Day particularly pertinent, as women have been hit disproportionately hard by the economic and social fallout of the pandemic.
It is women who have done most of the caring, it is women who have seen their precarious employment disappear, and it is women who have seen indefensible gender pay gaps grow even wider.
How will you help create a gender-equal world? What are your demands for equality of income and participation for women? Celebrate women's achievement, raise awareness against bias, and take action for equality. Tell the world this 8 March.
The ILO meets in March and will consider the question of including occupational health and safety (OHS) as a fundamental right. Please lobby your governments to support this by asking them to have OHS on the agenda of the ILO Conference in June.
One of the five demands by working people for recovery and resilience is climate-friendly jobs with Just Transition. This is the change the whole world needs to secure a future for us all, and it is happening now. Equal Times has published this special report on what Just Transition looks like in Spain, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Scotland, Argentina and Senegal.
This shows what we can achieve together, even when faced with the greatest challenges.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary