May Day 2020: Labour groups & unions call for decent work, living wages, union rights, social protections, & to build back better after COVID-19

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4 May 2020

Labour Day: Cambodian unions call on apparel brands to commit to pay for all placed, in-production & completed orders

Author: Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions

Cambodian trade unions May Day demands

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1 May 2020

Asia Floor Wage Alliance's Statement on May Day 2020

Author: Asia Floor Wage Alliance

"Defend Union Rights! Struggle for a Living wage!", 1 May 2020

COVID-19 disaster... has starkly exposed the vulnerability of workers all around the world, more so in industries that are based on low wages and inhumane working conditions... [It] requires our governments to serve vulnerable communities and the working poor, and... [be] responsive, transparent and participatory. Instead, we see the rise of authoritarianism and undemocratic surveillance under the guise of safety and security...

Employers are using the COVID crisis to intensify their calls for banning of unions. Workers’ unions are being repressed, with unionized garment workers getting thrown out of jobs, and union leaders facing retaliation. Governments, in an exclusive collusion with business, are using the moment to concede to employers’ interests and to accelerate the passing of labour laws that down grade and deny labour rights...

May Day is an occasion to renew our commitment to building and strengthening the worker’s movement locally and globally...

... [M]inimum and prevailing wages in garment industry in Asia are ONLY ONE-THIRD of a Living Wage. We have to fight back and make sure that the changes that take place in export industries like the global fashion industry do not AGAIN plunge garment workers from the edge of precarious working and living to destitution, starvation and homelessness...

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Article
1 May 2020

Bangladesh: Labour leader warns of putting profits before garment workers' health as factories reopen without adequate protections

Author: Nazma Akhter, The Daily Star

“‘The risks are grave. We don’t want to go back to work right away.’”, 01 May 2020

[T]his May Day we … are … fighting COVID-19, which has led to hundreds of thousands of workers losing their jobs, losing their pay and fighting with police and factory owners.

… [W]e are demanding job security and social protection, the payment of wages and proper social distancing. Many [workers] have still not been paid for March …

[I]t is much too soon to open factories, but the pressure on us is immense and the government has instructed us to reopen.

Brands are also pushing as some stores in America and Europe are starting to reopen ….

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association has asked for our support to open the factories.

The consequences of putting competitiveness and profit before workers' health are too grave…

There is no respect, there is no dignity and there is no legal protection.

… [C]ompanies who promised accidents like the Rana Plaza collapse will never happen again … are asking us to reopen factories and risk our lives.

Workers … do not want to go back to work at this moment like they had said just before the Rana Plaza disaster when the building's owners ignored warnings to avoid using the building after cracks had appeared the day before.

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Article
1 May 2020

Food Chain Workers Alliance calls for end of exploitation of workers in food supply chains

Author: Food Chain Workers Alliance

"MAY DAY: FOOD WORKERS FIGHT BACK", 30 April 2020

On MAY DAY we honor and support all workers mobilizing in the form of strikes, rallies, slow-downs, call-outs and other actions throughout the globe. 

In the time of COVID-19 the state and the larger public are finally recognizing the labor of over 22 million workers that keep the food supply chain running. Yet, food workers are still being treated as disposable. Workers throughout this food supply chain are exploited by the #COVID19 crisis & the pre-existing conditions of the profit-driven food economy.  Food workers are organizing to win safe conditions during COVIDs and these fights are sowing the seeds for the power we need to transform the food system in the long run.

On May Day 2020 we support local and global calls for workers to take action and use their power as workers to build a world where the labor of all workers is valued...

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Article
1 May 2020

ITUC May 1st Statement - One World: Jobs, Incomes, Social Protection

Author: The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

1 May 2020

Shutdowns and confinement now cover most of the world’s population... The economic and social impact as lives and livelihoods are put on hold has disrupted the world of work with low-paid insecure workers carrying the burden... On 1 May, we salute the workers in health, care and other frontline sectors whose work is essential to saving lives and providing vital products and services...

The impacts of this crisis have brutally exposed the failings of the model of globalisation which has been imposed on working women and men. Public health systems have been debilitated by austerity, and the erosion of workers’ rights has left untold millions of workers exposed. Women, migrant workers, ethnic minorities and others who face discrimination are bearing a particularly heavy burden...

The re-launching of the global economy must have three main objectives:

JOBS: Millions of jobs are being destroyed. Full employment must be the goal, with decent work for all; healthy and safe conditions; formalisation of informal work; and an end to precarious work.

INCOMES: ... Minimum living wages must be in place everywhere, the right to collective bargaining has to be ensured for all workers and the gender pay gap must be closed.

SOCIAL PROTECTION: Billions of people have been left without social protection and are at grave risk... Now is the time for global cooperation to fund social protection for all...

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Article
1 May 2020

Labour groups & global trade unions host world's first virtual May Day amid pandemic

Author: LabourStart, The International Trade Union Confederation, Building and Woodworkers International, Education International, IndustriALL, The International Federation of Journalists, The International Transport Workers' Federation, The International Union of Foodworkers, Public Services International, UNI Global Union.

"Virtual May Day", 1 May 2020

Friday, 1 May 2020 from 07:00 - 19:00 UTC.
Start times: New York 03:00 / London 08:00 / Johannesburg 09:00 / Moscow 10:00 / New Delhi 12:30 / Tokyo 16:00 / Sydney 17:00 / Auckland 19:00

Join us on Facebook Live or Vimeo.

Use the hashtag #virtualmayday

Featuring videos from trade unions around the world -- speeches, music and stories from workers' struggles on every continent...

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Article
1 May 2020

Thousands of Amazon workers join May Day work stoppages to call for improved protections against COVID-19; Incl. company comments

Author: Russell Brandom, The Verge

"Workers from Amazon, Instacart, and others are calling in sick to protest poor virus protections", 1 May 2020

On May 1st, workers from Amazon, Whole Foods, Instacart, FedEx, Target, and Walmart joined together in a series of work stoppages to protest conditions and equipment in the face of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The actions have been organized by a range of groups within the various companies, but are timed to coincide with International Workers’ Day....Organizers at Amazon said thousands of employees are participating in the actions nationwide... 

The groups are calling for better practices and equipment to protect frontline workers from contracting the disease at work... Amazon delivery service partners are asking for professional cleaners to sanitize vehicles at the end of each shift. Currently, drivers are provided with cleaning supplies and asked to sanitize the vehicles themselves.

Amazon has refused to disclose the number of employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, communicating only individual cases to the employees affected...

Amazon disputed organizers’ claims that employees lacked the necessary resources to work safely, pointing to increase in paid time off and workplace PPE. “Masks, temperature checks, hand sanitizer, increased time off, increased pay, and more are standard across our Amazon and Whole Food Market networks already,”...

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