“Forward ever, backward never: onwards with Breaking Through”


Unions kick off global push for essential workers on the World Day for Decent Work

On October 7, the World Day for Decent Work, UNI Global Union—a federation of trade unions from 150 countries—is launching an international campaign to demand essential rights for essential workers. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, underpaid, underappreciated, and undervalued workers have been keeping their communities running around the world. These workers ensured that there is food on the shelves; care for the sick and elderly; and that our schools, workplaces, public transport, and public spaces safe and sanitary. They also delivered mail and packages and provided needed access to financial services.

Just as the crisis has exposed how indispensable these jobs are, the campaign claims our societies can no longer turn a blind eye to the needs of the people doing them.

“Decent work for essential workers means better pay, safe jobs, paid sick leave, union representation, and respect,” said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union. “There is no fair economy in the aftermath of the pandemic that does not radically revalue this essential work. In crisis and in calm, these workers contribute so much, and deserve more than applause or kind words.”

The World Day for Decent Work is an opportunity to draw attention to the fundamental changes required in our global economy. That is why trade unions from around the world are demanding these essentials rights for all essential workers:

  • A wage with dignity. If work is essential enough to risk exposure to a deadly virus, it should at least pay living wage.
  • Workplace safety. Workers should have access to personal protective equipment, the ability to maintain social distancing, and other necessary safety measures.
  • Paid sick