Tag Archives: ituc

Africa: African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation

ITUC-Africa issued the following statement in English and French to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day 2020.


Global: ITUC survey shows gaps in provison of PPE and safe work conditions

ITUC Global COVID-19 Survey: Global gaps in adequate provision of PPE and preparation of safe workplaces to protect workers from spread of Covid-19 in spotlight

As lockdowns are eased in some countries with partial re-openings of workplaces, government and employer preparations to protect workers from Covid-19 as they return to work are in the spotlight. Trade unions from just one in five (21%) countries would rate the measures that are in place to protect workers from the spread of the virus at work as good. Most (54% or 58 countries) would rate these protections as fair. Twenty-six countries (24%) would rate the protections as poor.


The findings in the third ITUC Global Covid-19 Survey of 148 trade unions from 107 countries, including 17 G20 countries and 35 OECD countries carried out between 20th April – 23 April 2020 show the gaps in access to safe workplaces and global concerns on the provision of personal protective equipment for health and care workers.

“Preparing workers to return to work safely in consultation with unions is a critical next step in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Workers need official recognition of Covid-19 as an occupational disease and governments to require reporting and recording of work-related cases, as well as compensation schemes and medical care for victims for work-related Covid-19 and for their bereaved families. Governments in Australia, Denmark, Germany and Malaysia are showing the way – others must follow.

Globally, occupational health and safety must be included by the International Labour Organization as a fundamental right with global standards to protect workers,” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation.

Almost one in five countries (17%) say they are undertaking partial re-opening of workplaces, businesses and community spaces.

Of the 19 countries planning a partial or full re-opening:

  • Just five rate the protections in place for workers as good.
  • Six rate the protections in place as poor.
  • Eight would rate the protections as fair.

In the Americas 44% of countries say measures for safe workplace are poor, and in Africa 41% of countries say workplace safety is poor. Only 25% of countries in Europe rate measures to protect workers from the spread of the virus as good.

While many countries continue to respond to high levels of infections and deaths, shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health and care workers is a serious issue in the majority of countries.

Under half (49%) of countries said that they always or very often have adequate supplies of PPE available for all health workers and care workers responding to the virus. Fifty-one per cent of countries said PPE supplies are sometimes, rarely or never adequate, exposing the risks faced by millions of frontline health and care workers responding to the pandemic.

“Frontline workers including health and care workers are putting their lives on the line to care for Covid-19 patients. The failures to supply enough PPE for workers puts workers, patients and communities at risk and has led to lawsuits by in the US by the New York Nurses Association. On International Workers Memorial Day we remember all those wh have died at work or from work-related diseases and we pledge to fight for the living. Workers must have secure supplies of PPE, and the G20 has a responsibility to ensure trade flows of PPE are not restricted and that prices are stabalised, ” said Sharan Burrow.

The ITUC Global Covid-19 Survey, which includes tracking data from countries which responded in the week of 20th April – 23 April found:

  • The majority of countries (61%) are containing the spread of the virus with national lockdown measures including the closure of schools and non-essential businesses.
  • Most (54% or 58 countries) believe their government is responding quite well, while just 12% (13 countries) believe their government is responding very well.
  • Thirty-four per cent (36 countries) believe that their government is responding badly. This includes 27 (25%) that believe they are responding badly and 9 (8%) that believe they are responding very badly.
  • Just over half (51% or 55 countries) believe that employers are responding badly to the needs of workers. Nine countries (or 8%) believe that employers are responding very badly.

“In many countries the struggle will be to keep the meaures governments have put in place for income and wage protection, while in many countries the struggle to achieve guarantees of decent work with jobs, income and social protection has just deepened. Social dialogue between unions, governments and employers is critical. The world cannot go back to business as usual – recovery plans must ensure a socially just future,” said Sharan Burrow.

Read the Third ITUC Global Covid-19 Survey Key Findings.


South Africa: We mourn the loss of life for workers all around the world – COSATU

We mourn the loss of life for workers all around the world who have lost their lives at work. #COVIDー19 is a workplace related disease and we want occupational health and safety to become a fundamental right” Sharan Burrow,ITUC General Secretary #IWMD20 👉bit.ly/2SdSpzH

Global: A 28 April message from Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation

April 28 is International Workers’ Memorial Day or Workers’ Mourning Day. This is the international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work. More here: https://www.ituc-csi.org/28April2020

Global: COVID-19 should be classified as an occupational disease – ITUC/Global Unions

The ITUC and its Global Unions partners are calling for COVID-19 to be classified as an occupational disease in order to ensure stronger workplace protections and access to compensation as well as to medical care. The call is being made today [28 April], on International Workers’ Memorial Day.

“While there are many aspects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which are yet unclear, one thing that is clear is that most transmission is occurring in workplaces such as hospitals and care facilities, as well as in workplaces where transmission can occur between workers with the public.

“There is already evidence that in numerous countries, protective workplace measures such as distancing and personal equipment are insufficient or even absent. Workers are being made to take risks that shouldn’t be taken, and in some cases, such as in Amazon warehouses, they face sanctions or dismissal for raising safety concerns. Bringing COVID-19 into occupational disease classification is crucial to stopping this and reducing the spread of the virus. This is becoming even more urgent as countries begin to relax restrictions on economic sectors and public spaces,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

Occupational disease classification would mean that where workers are infected with the virus, the presumption would be that it is workplace-related unless conclusive evidence is presented to the contrary. It would also reinforce public health measures which are in place and which will evolve in the coming months and years.

“We are also calling for occupational health and safety to be given the status of a fundamental right at the International Labour Organization. This is a long-overdue measure which would give workers’ protection from death and disease the same priority as freedom of association, collective bargaining and protection from discrimination, forced labour and child labour,” said Burrow.

Council of Global Unions Statement on Recognition of COVID-19 as an Occupational Disease * ITUC news release * COVID-19 Pandemic: News from unions


Europe: Statement from ITUC’s Pan European Regional Council (OHS Network)

Dear colleagues, dear members of the PERC OHS Network,

We believe that all of you, as well as your countries face with the Covid-19 pandemic, and that your governments adopt appropriate measures aimed at protection of population and citizens, but also the response measures aimed at salvation of jobs and economic in your countries.

Given that all of your are affiliates of PERC OHS Network, it would be good if you could monitor the measures of your governments and, if possible, draft a brief review of the situation in this area, and submit it to us by e-mail. Considering that it cannot be predicted for how long this situation would continue, we shall try in the forthcoming period to organize an online meeting  (by way of some platforms) to talk about these matters. I have also though this could be a complicated, but I do have regular meetings this way with my colleagues from Brussels, and even some bigger meetings were organized this way. I can tell you that this form of communication in given circumstances is extremely relevant and necessary.

I hereby enclose the translation to BSCM language of the ITUC document “Workers’ Memorial Day – Stop Pandemic at Work”, in reference to the 28th April – International Workers’ Memorial Day or Workers’ Mourning Day of remembrance and actions for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work. The link to the original text in English language is: https://www.ituc-csi.org/28April2020

We hope that you will use this document to mark the 28th April this year, although in these specific conditions.

To all Network members on OHS: We are also sending you attached the Draft PERC OHS Networks’ Statement on COVID –  for consultation with you about the final text.

We wish you a good health and in solidarity,

PERC updates re Covid-19

Global: ITUC action round-up on Covid-19

ITUC action round-up on Covid-19, 7 April 2020

Prepared by Raquel Gonzalez, Director, ITUC Geneva Office.
Secretary, ILO Workers’ Group

ITUC Global Covid-19 Survey

ITUC is regularly surveying its affiliates on Covid-19. The first survey covered the period 17- 23 March 2020. In total, 109 trade unions from 86 countries took part in the survey.

Six questions were asked to monitor government responses, review economic and social policies used to respond to the pandemic, identify workers and sectors worst affected by the crisis and assess how governments and employers are responding to the crisis. The responses will be used by the ITUC and its affiliates in support of international and national advocacy and campaigning.

The second survey was published on 7 April. It covered 116 trade unions in 94 countries. The gap between regions is exposed in this second survey in terms of the responses to the pandemic. While G20 governments have committed to a record stimulus of $5 trillion, the survey shows it risks excluding emerging and developing countries. The latter are also the countries with weaker health systems and inequalities putting the health and life of millions of workers at risk.

The survey shows that the vast majority of governments (72%) are providing wage protection and income support but there are big regional differences. 41% of countries say this is not enough to cover essential costs – this is most strongly felt in the Asia-Pacific (64%) region followed by the Americas (45%).

This is why the ITUC is calling for support for a Global Fund for Universal Social Protection for the poorest countries to support health care and income support.

OSH as a fundamental right

The current pandemic shows once again the importance of OSH. This is why the ITUC will continue to campaign for including safe and healthy working conditions in the ILO’s framework of fundamental principles and rights at work (FPRWs). We will discuss this important issue at the November 2020 ILO Governing Body. At this stage I wish to recall that the Centenary Declaration we adopted in June 2019 on a tripartite basis declared that safe and healthy working conditions are fundamental to decent work. The resolution requested the Governing Boy to: “consider, as soon as possible, proposals for including safe and healthy working conditions in the ILO’s framework of FPRWs.” We strongly believe that the current pandemic shows the urgency to make this a reality and we expect a strong tripartite consensus later this year around including safe and healthy working conditions as part of FPRWs.

A new ILO instrument on biological hazards

At the November 2020 Governing Body we will also be discussing future agenda items to be placed on the Conference agenda. Four areas of OSH standards have been identified (further to the work of the Standard Review Mechanism Tripartite Working Group). We believe that in light of the current pandemic, priority should be given to the development of a Convention complemented by a Recommendation on protection against biological hazards which would be a key contribution that the ILO could make in the current pandemic context based on its rights-based mandate and tripartite structure.

ITUC/IOE Joint Statement on Covid-19

On 23 March, the International Organsation of Employers (IOE) and the ITUC issued a joint statement on Covid-19.

Both organizations called for urgent action in the following areas:

  • Business continuity, income security and solidarity
  • Social dialogue and role of the social partners in the control of and response to the virus
  • Policy coordination and coherence at international level with the UN/WHO taking into account the need to protect employment and income through strengthening of social protection
  • Strong and functioning health systems to combat the pandemic


28 April: ITUC Global Covid-19 Survey: Regional differences exposed in government responses to the pandemic

ITUC Global Covid-19 Survey: Regional differences exposed in government responses to the Covid-19 pandemic – millions of workers in Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas at risk of economic devastation

The impact of Covid-19 on jobs and employment has increased as more countries are responding to the pandemic with national lockdown measures including the closure of schools and non-essential business. While wage protection and income support are provided in many G20 and OECD countries, working people in Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas have lost jobs and incomes and could face widespread famine unless there is urgent global co-ordination and fiscal stimulus measures. Read more