ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow

ITUC used its May Day statement to restate its demand for a “new social contract”, including job creation.

In January, ITUC General-Secretary Sharan Burrow spoke at the World Economic Forum demanding a new contract built around job creation, workers’ rights, social protection, equality, and inclusion.

May Day, which has been used to protest the rights of workers’ for over 120 years, sees millions jobless due to COVID-19 globally. In the UK, the ONS reports that the number of vacancies from January to March 2021 fell 23% on the year. Particularly, badly hit are arts, entertainment, and hospitality jobs.

The statement read:

With more than 250 million jobs lost last year to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a further 130 million jobs at risk this year, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is calling on governments to make job creation a central objective in ensuring recovery and resilience.

The statement also asked Governments to “formalise” informal jobs, like those in hospitality and delivery. The issue caught headlines in March when the UK Supreme Court ruled Deliveroo drivers to have full-employment rights.

Early this year, ITUC’s Global Rights Index 2020 reported workers’ rights had been shaken by the pandemic.

Rights abuses in the workplace were the highest in the reports’ seven-year history. 144 countries were included in the report. 80% had violated the right to collective bargaining and 85% the right to strike.

In spite of this, ITUC said many Governments had proved they could protect workers at the start of the pandemic. Many governments drew plans to furlough jobs and reduce working hours.

The statement continued:

Where these demands are acted upon, shared prosperity will replace poverty, democracy will be reinforced, and societies will flourish on the basis of sound economies. Failure to follow this course will further undermine trust in governments and betray current and future generations.

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Image credit: World Economic Forum – Creative Commons