Global Labour Rights face pertinent danger as Coronavirus pandemic looms further setback

The continued coronavirus pandemic has affected world in an unprecedented manner, affecting labour rights internationally. As various nations deny workers the freedom to strike, protest, form a union and demand for their rights with better negotiation, labour rights are facing looming danger.

On Thursday, Global Trade Union said that the coronavirus pandemic induced lockdown and economic shutdown can further derail the labour rights situation globally.

The Global Rights Index by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) publicized that labour rights violations have reached a seven-years high as increasing number of nations continue to prevent their workers basic rights of forming unions and negotiating.

“The index exposes a breakdown in the social contract that governments and employers have with working people. We are already seeing some countries take things further, and under the cover of measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic they are advancing their anti-workers’ rights agenda.”

Sharon Burrow

ITUC further revealed that more than 60% of the world’s total workforce, that accounts to almost 2.5 billion people, are informal or illegal workers. This makes them even more prone and susceptible to risk of being underpaid, overworked, abused and denied of their labour rights.

According to the index Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Honduras and Egypt have been rated as the worst countries in relation to the labour rights violation.

Sharon Burrow, Secretary General of the ITUC said, “The index exposes a breakdown in the social contract that governments and employers have with working people. We are already seeing some countries take things further, and under the cover of measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic they are advancing their anti-workers’ rights agenda.”

Labour rights activists have warned that many countries might roll back the workers rights as pandemic is unfolding across the globe, and the workers will agree to them due to reduced jobs.

Many countries like Brazil and Mauritius have suspended the labour rights since pandemic outbreak, in pretext of economy boost at the expense of workers.

ITUC reports that over five countries have seriously violated labour rights and also suspended their basic right to strike or negotiate. Workers in as many as 51 countries have experienced violence.

Over 25 million people are reportedly under forced labour globally. With the issue of labour rights under spotlight, many companies are facing pressure to ease out the pressure on supply demand chain. United Nations has set a target of 2030 to end slavery, bringing this agenda even more under limelight.

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Dr. Neha Mathur

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