ITUC-AP COVID-19 Analysis
4 May 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has had catastrophic impacts on the world of work. An unprecedented jobs crisis calls for government’s unprecedented responses. This report will briefly assess in what way and to what extent the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on the world of work in the Asia-Pacific (AP) region. It will then examine the government and trade union’s initial responses to the pandemic, and to evaluate their effectiveness in protecting workers and their families’ life and living. It will conclude with a discussion of what lessons can be learnt to inform trade union’s future action.
Trade unions have an indispensable role in securing workers and their families’ lives and livelihoods, especially in a time of crisis. Regrettably, collective bargaining and tripartite mechanism has not been fully utilised in formulating and administering government’s initial responses.
Learning from the lessons thus far, trade unions’ future actions need to focus on four areas: 1) calling for greater international collaboration and cooperation to provide the low and middle-income counties with the resources to implement effective relief measures; 2) strengthening social dialogue in formulating a balanced and comprehensive recovery plan; 3) fighting for extending statutory health and social protection coverage to all informal workers; and 4) organising informal workers to get their voices heard.