ITUC Poll: People in Asia-Pacific believe that workers’ rights are more important now than in pre-COVID times
29 July 2021
Respondents from Asia-Pacific are more likely to believe that workers’ rights are now more important than before, compared to respondents from other regions. This is one of the key findings of the ITUC Frontline Poll June 2021 that assesses the changes in the public’s attitudes on workers’ rights as a result of the pandemic.
Four out of the 10 surveyed countries – Australia, India, Indonesia, and Japan – are from the Asia-Pacific region, representing a sample size of 5,199 (42.5% of the total 12,242 sample size). Compared to respondents from other regions as well as to the global average, those from Asia-Pacific are more likely to believe that the following are more important than before:
- The right to join a trade union (37% compared to the global average of 31%)
- The right to a decent minimum wage (57% compared to the global average of 51%)
- The right to collectively bargain so workers can join together to get fairer wages and labour conditions (49% compared to the global average of 43%)
- Affordable access to healthcare (65% compared to the global average of 58%)
- Access to unemployment benefits (56% compared to the global average of 53%).
“While the data can be interpreted in various ways, the changes in the public’s attitudes may have been driven by people’s experiences during the pandemic. The pandemic exposed and highlighted the serious social protection deficits in the region, as workers, especially the vulnerable groups, suffered from job and income losses but failed to receive adequate assistance from the governments to keep them from being pushed back to poverty,” Shoya Yoshida, General Secretary of the ITUC-Asia Pacific said.
“While economies are in crisis, democracies in many Asian and Pacific countries are crumbling. Labour market institutions are weakened and the fundamental principles and rights at work are being undermined. Workers’ rights are more important than ever; thus, the call for a new social contract for recovery and resilience that gives primacy to jobs, rights, universal social protection, equality, and inclusion is more urgent than ever,” Shoya Yoshida added.