Patients care is more effective with protective equipment!

Trade union members employed in intensive care at the Clinic of Infectious Diseases in Belgrade, Republic of Serbia

Putting workers’ health first means safe workplaces and paid sick leave from day one

Protecting workers and their families from the risk of contracting Covid-19 must be a top priority for employers and governments. Effective occupational health and safety measures, with proper protective equipment and hygiene procedures at work are essential for all. Support for child and elderly care will allow people with additional responsibilities to stay in their jobs. Protection in the form of paid sick leave from day one is key for those who are sick and their families.

I‘ve lost my job because of the Coronavirus. Now I am unemployed. I have no salary, no income to support my family and cover our medical costs, and I have no alternatives to make
a living any longer.

Suleiman, airport worker in Mogadishu, Somalia

Ensuring income support and access to health care for all workers through universal social protection

Millions of jobs will be lost, and millions of people will be pushed into poverty as they will not have money to feed themselves and their families.  Unemployment benefits and compensation arrangements are key to ensure workers’ income security and to provide them access to healthcare, in line with the ILO Convention 102 on social protection. It is urgent to put in place universal social protection systems covering all workers, regardless their contractual status, such as self-employed and platform economy workers.

After losing my previous job as an employee, I started selling hardware on my own when the pandemic hit Tanzania. Now business is not so good, and I don’t know how to get by. Staying at home is not an option for me.

Alice Tilya, worker in the informal economy, Arusha, Tanzania

Leaving no informal worker behind when responding to the Covid-19 pandemic

Despite representing 60 per cent of the world’s workforce, informal workers are too often left totally unprotected. As the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic destroys the livelihoods of workers in the informal economy, governments cannot abandon them. Universal social protection floors, in line with ILO Recommendation 202, is a pillar for the response to the crisis, foreseeing basic income and access to essential social services in the areas of health and food security among others.

Global solidarity for social protection is urgent to save lives and it’s affordable. Political leadership can make it happen. Which governments will be the first to step up?

Sharan Burrow, Secretary General of the International Trade Union Confederation

Facing the Covid-19 pandemic and fostering recovery requires investments in health and social protection

The Covid-19 crisis has dramatically unveiled the deficiency to protect people and to preserve economies across the world. Governments must put in place domestic investments in social protection, including healthcare for all. A Global Social Protection Fund could support and complement these domestic efforts. The Global Fund would require less than US$5 billion a year in the poorest countries and US$25 billion a year for partial support for low- to middle-income countries according to need.

We are a small company and had to stop our production due to the lockdown. We have resumed the production of rehabilitation chairs, involving 70% of the regular staff. They work regularly, of course taking all safety measures and respecting social distancing.

Mykola, timber mill, Ukraine

Supporting the real economy, jobs and micro, small and medium sized enterprises

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are the backbone of the world economy. Their workers account for more than 80 per cent of employment in many countries. MSMEs and their workers have been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis and will suffer its consequences in the years to come. Governments must establish urgent economic stimulus plans and safeguard measures to support MSMEs and their workers’ income. This support must be directed toward the labour intensive sectors such as manufacturing, retail and agriculture and has to be tied to the protection of jobs and wages.

When the plant closed, the workers were promised 50% of their wages. Thus far, I’ve received no financial support at all. Now, I look for food in the streets.
It’s better to be killed by the Covid-19 than to starve to death at home.

Wilner, daily worker in a multinational company in the garment sector, Haiti

Ending corporate greed requires multinationals to deliver on due diligence protecting supply chain workers

Millions of workers are being laid off in the supply chains, bearing the costs of the Covid-19 crisis. Where global contracts with different suppliers are not upheld, a massive human cost arises, hugely delaying recovery. This is not the way towards resilient and inclusive global markets. Corporate bailouts using public funds must require companies to deliver on due diligence: paying a living wage, providing social protection, respecting workers’ freedom of association and right to collective bargaining, and reducing their carbon footprint. The current business model is not sustainable and must change.

As a worker, I want to be part of the transformation that will guarantee future generations a sustainable world with decent work. But I also need to know that I won’t be left behind during this transition and that policy makers, employers and unions will make sure that I’ll get the necessary skills to keep working.

Rosa, construction worker, Argentina (Real name has been modified)

Ensuring a just transition for climate ambition

Climate change and the deteriorating capacity of our planet to sustain life cannot be ignored anymore. The devastation from the pandemic will require new levels of care, of social protection and of economic stimulus in all countries. The same is true of the climate crisis, with just ten years to stabilise the planet and see a global reduction of 45 per cent of emissions. As many jobs will have to evolve or be replaced by new ones, workers must be given the skills and support they will need to thrive in this new world of work. Recovery plans must put people and planet first, with Just Transition as way to support workers.

Supporting social dialogue and a new social contract to rebuild our societies

Crisis recovery response measures must build on the engagement of social partners if they are to be solid and durable. Social dialogue and industrial relations help rebuild trust in institutions and assist in crafting equitable policies. A New Social Contact is vital to set the world back on a sustainable and just path. The terms of this contract must include a labour protection floor for all workers that guarantees freedom of association and collective bargaining, living wages, healthy and safe working places, and a fair amount of control over working time.


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Recovery plans could give us a new model for the global economy, a new commitment to sharing the world’s wealth and a renewed investment in compliance and the rule of law. Out of the health and economic devastation, let’s rebuild with a renewed social contract.

Sharan Burrow General Secretary
of the International Trade Union Confederation

It’s time for 8

The clock is ticking for a New Social Contract

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a crisis of unprecedented significance on people health, jobs and lives globally. Governments must take extraordinary and radical measures to overcome the emergency and to lay the groundwork for the recovery. A piecemeal approach clearly does not fit the purpose. On the contrary, systemic change based on interlinked and complementary policies at social, economic and environmental level is the way forward.

This is why today the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are relevant more than ever. They provide the vision and show the path towards resilient economies and inclusive and just societies. Recovery measures and investments must be in line with the SDGs to be lasting.

SDG 8 is key to address the social and economic impacts of the Covid-19 crisis. Through its targets on workers protection, decent work, social protection and on inclusive growth, Goal 8 drives the 2030 Agenda forward and plays a fundamental role in trade unions’ call for a New Social Contract between governments, business and workers.

It’s time for 8. The clock is ticking for a New Social Contract.

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