Commentary: As govts introduce radical support for workers amid COVID-19, it is creating a new social contract that should be defended

Author: Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of ITUC, via Medium , Published on: 25 March 2020

“A New Social Contract can rebuild our workplaces and economies after COVID-19”, 18 March 2020

The social contract [is] understood…as the foundation of a stable society, but as …global corporations began to dominate…, the attacks on the social contract escalated. [For example],…offshoring production to maximise low wages and reduce employment responsibilities. [D]enial of fundamental labour rights has been allowed by governments putting corporate interests above…the livelihoods of their people.

[T]he health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on employment relationships which are deficient of paid sick leave, guaranteed hours of work or even a contract of work. As many governments scramble to pay for sick leave, provide income support or other measures, they have found themselves putting in place the building blocks of a social contract. Let’s keep these in place.

Just Transition measures for climate action and technological changes, and a transformative agenda for women’s economic participation, can ensure we leave no one behind. Taxation must be fair and redistributed to social justice measures including vital public services in health, education and other sectors of care and opportunity.

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