Sharan Burrow about the progress of trade unions in 2021
In the Solidarity newspaper blog, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) summed up the results of 2021 which also took place in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Too many working people are trapped in conflict, poverty, health problems, including low-wage, insecure and often insecure work”, says Sharan Burrow. The loss of millions of jobs, the growth of informal employment, the rise of xenophobia that puts the lives of migrants, refugees and other vulnerable groups in even greater danger – all this shows a clear ineffectiveness of global governance, the ITUC Secretary General emphasized.
She stated that governments often ignore fundamental rights, including decent work, and even directly disadvantage people in them. Thus, governments not only fail to meet the expectations of employees but also risk the future, threatening the stability of economies.
However, ITUC General Secretary noted that the trade unions have achieved a lot in the past year. “Despite the attacks on unions in many countries and the severe effects of the pandemic on jobs, union membership persists, and in some places even grows. There is increasing pressure on multinational companies and the oligarchs who control them to provide decent jobs in their supply chains, and governments are reducing tax rates for such companies”, said Sharan Burrow.
She emphasized that unions have made the world understand that the fight against climate change is only possible when the needs of workers and their concerns are fully taken into account, and a “just transition” [creating decent and climate-friendly jobs] starts in the economy.
Within the framework of the International Labour Organization, trade unions have fought successfully to make progress on important issues. This includes skills and lifelong learning opportunities, combating economic inequality, extending social protection to all workers and implementing the ILO’s ambitious agenda during the pandemic. These global victories of ours are mirrored in union victories on a myriad of issues at the national, regional and local levels, Burrow said.