COVID-19 could damage the global economy by directly affecting production. However, workers, especially those in unstable employment are the worst affected group in society. Once economic activity has been suspended or has decreased to a certain level, they will lose their jobs and hence their income. Their employers cannot afford or are not sufficiently generous to provide any relief and, in most cases, these workers are not covered by public social protection programmes. Consequently, many workers and their families may be left destitute.
The Council of the Global Unions (CGU), namely the ITUC, the 11 GUFs and the TUAC, published its statement on 12 March 2020 calling upon governments to: “immediately extend paid sick leave entitlements, maintain incomes and extend social protections to all workers, including formal, ‘gig’, precarious and informal workers, regardless of their employment status”.
The ITUC and its Regional Organisations have been collecting, analysing and disseminating information about COVID-19, including a review of government responses, with a particular focus on the following five areas: (1) paid sick leave; (2) wage support; (3) income support; (4) mortgage, rent or loan relief; and (5) free health care; and have published three surveys relating to government responses. This ITUC-AP survey summarises the information which the ITUC and the ITUC-AP have collected from their affiliates in the Asian and Pacific region, as well as from the media as of 21 April 2020. Please visit the ITUC webpage on COVID-19 to view other surveys and reports.