On April 30, 2020, at 15:00 Ankara time, Turkey, participated in an International online video conference organized by the Turkish civil servants Confederation “Memur-Sen” on the occasion of May 1 –International Labor Day.
The conference was attended by 60 representatives from 9 confederations of different countries and continents:
1) Semikh Durmush, General Secretary, Memur-Sen, Turkey;
2) Mirbolat Zhakypov, Chairman of the civil servants ‘ Union, FTURK, Kazakhstan;
3) Caroline Mugalla, General Secretary of EATUC, Tanzania;
4) Sattar Danbos Barack AL-BAWI, Deputy Secretary-General, ICATU, Iraq;
5) Philippe Djula, General Secretary, COSYGA, Gabon;
6) Gizem Karaca, the President of the BSPSH, Albania;
7) Maria del Carmen Molina VDA De Bonilla, General Secretary of CCSTS, El Salvador;
8) Luigi Ulgiati, Vice President of UGL, Italy;
9) Maria Joaquina Veiga de Almeida, Secretary-General, UNTC-CS, Cape Verde.
The video conference was opened by the President of the Confederation Ali Yalchin, who noted, “To stop the spread of COVID-19, for the first time in its history, this Labor Day and a symbol of the achievements of the past struggle, which we celebrate every year in the squares, will be celebrated this year with an unprecedented level of universal solidarity from our homes.
But this virus couldn’t stop us. We said that there is always a new path and a new opportunity. So we decided to organize this online video conference. We believe that, despite the global blockage, we need to maintain a strong voice to support our agenda and Express a firm word of solidarity and work in all circumstances. At this point, we are expanding our capabilities from the first day of this pandemic, and we are working hard to keep the fight going. The video conferencing system allows us to communicate with our fraternal unions.
The conference was moderated by the representative of the ILO in Turkey Numan Osscan. He thanked MEMUR-SEN for organizing this extraordinary event in difficult conditions and for inviting HIM to moderate this outstanding virtual panel.
“Last year, MEMUR-SEN organized a very large forum of trade unions around the world on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the ILO. This year — May 1. Trade unions around the world are organizing innovative events to celebrate this momentous day. And this international online conference organized by MEMUR-SEN is a good example for them.
The ILO regularly publishes the COVID-19 Monitor to measure the impact of the pandemic on jobs and livelihoods. Yesterday we published the 3rd edition of this report. The pandemic has accelerated in intensity and expanded its global reach. Total working hours in Q2 are expected to be 10% lower than in the last pre-crisis quarter. This is equivalent to 305 million jobs. The estimated decrease in labor activity in the 1st quarter is uneven in different regions. Although the situation has worsened for all major regional groups, estimates show that in the Americas, Europe, and Central Asia, the greatest losses will occur during working hours (12.4%).
The current crisis has affected almost 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy. In the first month of the crisis, the average earnings of informal workers in the world will fall by 60 %. The largest decline is in Africa and Latin America – 81%. Without alternative sources of income, these workers and their families will not be able to survive. The ILO pays special attention to those who are most vulnerable and who are in the informal economy. The role of the ILO in this situation is to find out how we can help, to provide all the necessary support to those who need it most. This is the meaning of social justice in the world and in everything else that is changing around us, this is the permanent mandate of the ILO.
We call on governments to cooperate with social partners in inappropriate measures to combat the pandemic. Experience shows that in times of crisis, social dialogue with employee and employer organizations brings better results and solutions.”
Participants of the videoconference-Representatives of confederations of countries congratulated all workers of the world on the International Labor Day, on this historical and symbolic day and wished them greater solidarity, strength, and social prosperity.
The topic of the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, which has caused great damage and seriously affected economic and social life around the world, and increased the suffering of workers, was discussed. The situation is still not under control due to a lack of funds and equipment for detection and prevention, as well as medication and vaccination treatment.
This crisis has exposed many contradictions of the world economic order. It showed that inequality between rich and poor is constantly increasing. Social policy is extremely flawed, especially in some regions of the world, such as the African continent. Health systems are extremely vulnerable to meeting the real needs of this pandemic. Almost complete lack of medical infrastructure, equipment, and personnel.
There is also no social protection system. Lack of health insurance, lack of social solidarity funds, such as unemployment funds, pensions, and other forms of support in the event of natural disasters. Difficulties with access to health care and medicines.
It was noted that accurate information should be used as a means of protection. Misinformation can cause panic, suspicion, and unrest; it can disrupt the availability of food and vital resources, such as face masks for health care workers and other workers who are on the frontline, whose needs are greatest.
After the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, it will be even more difficult for workers. It is therefore strongly recommended that trade unions redouble their vigilance and strengthen their solidarity in order to create a front of reaction and resistance that can cope with the harmful consequences of this crisis. Labor unions should develop a two-way strategy. In the short term, it is about participating in the fight against this pandemic while ensuring worker safety in the workplace and equal access to health care. Discuss at all levels measures that will guarantee the future of workers to guarantee a decent income for COVID-19 victims. This should be done through the mechanisms of tripartism and social dialogue.
Unions should give these workers all the support they need to do their jobs, be safe, and stay alive.
COVID-19 will not be the last dangerous virus the world will see. The heroism and dedication of the front-line workers give the rest of us a certain confidence that we will defeat this virus!