12 March 2020 16:46

The Council of Global Unions (CGU), representing 200 million workers, called on governments and employers in all countries to act swiftly to save lives and to limit the spread of COVID 19. It said that the crisis is a fundamental issue of health, occupational health and safety, and rights and social protections. 

In a statement, the CGU said that workers are on the frontline of the economic, social and health impacts of COVID-19. If workers are not protected, it will accelerate the spread of the virus.

The CGU said that special provisions must be made to immediately extend paid sick-leave entitlements to workers who lack them, and to improve sick leave provisions as well as to ensure working conditions and arrangements that provide protection. They stressed that all workers need to be protected regardless of employment relationships and status.

In this context, it is vital to ensure that trade union rights are fully protected and that the full range of labour standards covering conditions and rights or workers are respected. CGU is proposing customised and responsible workplaces to protect workers from COVID-19.

BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson stressed that "although social dialogue and proper and effective engagement by governments with trade unions are always important, such practices are even more necessary in crisis situations. “We call on governments and employers to work closely with BWI member organisations in order to implement measures, programs and services that extend, not limit, rights and protect and ensure the health, safety and working conditions of all workers. This is especially important for those workers who are mobile and run a high risk of being exposed like migrant and cross-border construction workers."

Yuson added, "COVID 19 challenges our lives and our health, but it also measures the depth and the strength of our values, including our sense of solidarity, community and humanity. We are determined to play our part in addressing this crisis and I am confident that we, together, can combat it, help limit its damage, and build on our cooperation to enable further progress.”  

For CGU’s full statement, please go here: