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Covid-19: Pandemic threatens to accelerate deterioration of workers’ rights around the world

“Workers’ rights seen crumbling as coronavirus threatens further setbacks”, 18 June 2020

Violations of labour rights have hit a seven-year high … the Global Rights Index by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) revealed.

… [M]ore than 60% of the world's workforce  are informal workers, leaving them particularly at risk of being underpaid, overworked and abused, the ITUC said.

Activists and academics have warned of a rollback of labour rights in global supply chains, with workers forced to accept worse conditions … factory bosses accused of using coronavirus staff culls to fire union members.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many countries, including Brazil, India and Mauritius, have amended labour laws in a boost for the private sector at the expense of workers, the ITUC said.

Several states in India, for example, are suspending laws on the length of the working day, minimum wage, and worker unions, while Brazil passed measures in March that deny millions of workers the right to collective bargaining.

"Unscrupulous governments and business are using the pandemic to break workers' organisations, and intimidate their representatives," Phil Bloomer, head of the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

About 25 million people are estimated to be victims of forced labour…