Global trade union movement in the fight against Corona

Economy Workers with least resources are also the ones who are most vulnerable in a global crisis. How many people will be affected by the relentless Corona pandemic is yet to be predicted. However, it is clear that the economic consequences will be great and hit hard at all levels.

Published Updated
Copy link for sharing

25 million jobs will disappear on a global level

In Sweden, LO is at the forefront demanding better protection against unemployment and increased poverty. Now the global trade union movement is also joining forces and demanding efforts to protect people’s health, jobs and income. It is a critical situation.

At present, the ILO estimates that almost 25 million jobs will disappear on a global level in the wake of Corona virus. This corresponds to an income loss of nearly $ 3,440 billion.

In order to meet the current emergency situation, the international trade union movement, through the ITUC, demands that all workers should be immediately covered by basic rights to economic and social protection, whether the work is performed in permanent employment or in the informal economy. A worker is a worker regardless of where the work is performed. The ITUC demands rapid and extensive investments in the public sector.

The ITUC primarily addresses the demands to the G20 countries' leaders, but urges other nations to follow - it is the duty of all states to protect their population against pandemics and economic collapse.

The ITUC gives priority to six areas that are particularly urgent to address:

  • Paid sick leave from day one. In Sweden this measure was carried through at an early stage, by removing the qualification day. In many other countries this has not become reality.
  • Wage/income protection; through unemployment insurance. Only a minority of workers worldwide have their income protected by way of an insurance. Mainly it is workers in the most developed economies that have a relatively well-functioning unemployment insurance.
  • Alleviate the mortgage conditions; review lending criteria
  • Fundamental social protection and free access to healthcare for all
  • Childcare, care of elderly and others in the vicinity of those working in the frontline of fighting the spread of the infection must be ensured.

These measures are already in place in many countries, but in the developing economies the challenges are colossal, and there is an acute lack of necessities. These countries should therefore be granted additional support. As the ITUC Africa has put it: Without international solidarity we will not survive.

In order for the measures to arrive in time, the global trade union movement must work side by side in solidarity. But this is still not enough. It is also necessary that the ILO, the WHO, OECD, IMF and the World Bank join their forces and introduce coordinated and deliberate measures.

The action taken by the Swedish government may be seen as an example of how resources can be made available in a rapid manner, to alleviate the effects of the crisis. The global trade union movement now calls for more countries showing proof of similar leadership. In parallel with the demand put by LO that more people should be covered by the unemployment insurance. There is also a need for economic security for all workers worldwide, whatever their employment conditions might be.