ITUC Global Poll 2022: A worldwide cost of living crisis

Workers across the globe are struggling to make ends meet under the weight of a worldwide cost of living crisis.

Two in five (43%) households have experienced a loss of jobs or working hours and one in two (51%) say their income is falling behind the cost of living, according to a new public opinion poll from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC, said: “The inequalities and injustices that are at the heart of the failed economic system with huge deficits in corporate and financial regulation have been brutally exposed and massively deepened by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Released on the eve of the 5th ITUC World Congress in Melbourne, Australia, the global poll, commissioned from YouGov, covers the general public of seventeen countries.

The findings give a stark insight into the challenges that working people are facing:
• Jobs: 66% are worried about people losing jobs.
• Rights: 55% of people are worried about the weakening of labour laws. 53% say rates of violence in the world of work have increased.
• Wages: One in ten (13%) do not have enough money for basic essentials like housing, food and electricity. Three-quarters of people (72%) think the minimum wage is not enough to live a decent life.
• Social protection: 87% support affordable access to healthcare, but 67% worry about the capacity of healthcare systems to cope.
• Equality: 66% are worried about inequality in earnings and opportunities between men and women.
• Inclusion: 69% believe the economic system favours the wealthy.

“The very foundations of democracy and the global economy have been shattered. Governments, cowered by corporate greed, have failed to act in the interests of working people. When 56% of people say that fear of repercussions would prevent them from reporting corporate malpractice, we know that corporate social responsibility has failed.

“Working people know that economic and social progress has stalled or is in reverse. The economic system favours the interests of the few, while government services are stretched to breaking point and workers’ rights are under attack, with violence and harassment at work increasing.

“But working people are clear in their demands. They know that the answer is a new social contract based on climate-friendly jobs, rights, wages, social protection, equality and inclusion,” added Sharan Burrow.

The ITUC represents the largest global democratic community, and the World Congress will debate the mandate for the global trade union movement, with more than 1,000 trade unionists from over 130 countries.

ITUC President Ayuba Wabba said: “Working people support the goals of inclusive social and economic progress with shared prosperity and a sustainable future.

“At the moment these objectives are out of reach for many people. But, with the application of these clear demands, with a new social contract, we can turn the tide and create an economy that works for working people.

“But this is urgent. Governments and companies need to set out an action plan now to deliver a new social contract and to start to repair the damage.”

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) President Michele O’Neil said: “This poll shows that workers in Australia, who are facing an ongoing wages crisis and have spent years being asked to do more with less, are not alone. Working people around the world are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living and growing inequality.

“International comparisons can also show Australian workers a way forward – multi-employer bargaining has been helping improve wage growth and quality of life in dozens of other countries. It’s time that we catch up with the rest of the world on bargaining rights.”

For a copy of the YouGov data tables, contact Andrew Khan-Gordon, ITUC campaign communications: [email protected].

YouGov carried out the fieldwork 22 June to 6 July 2022, with adult populations in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Egypt, France, Great Britain, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea and the United States. All polling numbers quoted above represent the average of the 17 countries. The figures have been weighted on a national level and are representative of all adults in each respective country.

The ITUC World Congress will be held in Melbourne, Australia 17 November to 22 November 2022. The ITUC represents 200 million workers in 163 countries and territories from 332 national trade unions.

Congress Daily Highlights (all times Melbourne: UTC/GMT+11)

Live steamed on the Congress website.

Journalists who wish to attend the ITUC World Congress can apply for accreditation here.

16:00-18:00, Thursday, 17 November, Opening Ceremony, including addresses from Joy Murphy Wandin, a Wurundjeri elder, ITUC President Ayuba Wabba (NLC Nigeria), Western Australia Senator Pat Dodson, ACTU President Michele O’Neil, former ILO Director General Guy Ryder and others.

9:00-12:30, Friday, 18 November, Plenary, Opening video message from António Guterres, UN Secretary General, ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow’s address outlining the state of the world for working people and the findings of the ITUC Global Poll 2022.

Saturday, 19 November, Congress forum: Technology and impacts on work.

Sunday, 20 November: Election of ITUC General Secretary.

Monday, 21 November, Worst Boss In The World: results of ITUC poll announced. Nominees include Alan Joyce, Jeff Bezos and Gina Rinehart.