Today the working people of the world is facing unprecedented suffering due to massive unemployment, hunger and the impact of the severe health crisis.
There has been no economic recovery after the 2008 global financial crisis. The emergence of COVID 19 had resulted in the worst economic crisis since the global recession. Business closures and slowdowns under the pandemic led to massive lay-offs, work reduction and wage cuts or both. Conservative estimates peg global job loss to 114 million in 2020. Unemployment rates for women and young workers are higher compared to their counterparts, with workers from the less developed economies denied social protection and received mere paltry assistance from the government.
In advanced capitalist countries, non-white and migrant workers bore the brunt of the effects of the pandemic, while in the global South, families of agricultural workers and so-called low-skilled workers who depend on a meager daily wage, are facing hunger and destitution.
The decades of implementation of neoliberal economic policies led to wages being pressed down to poverty levels, short-term contractual employment has become the norm, unionization has been curtailed, and many social services — from water to education and health — have become costly, having been privatized in the hands of big corporations.
Lockdowns and pandemic measures implemented by governments are ripe with rights violations. In many countries, the pandemic has been weaponized by those in power against the people. Arrests and detention, extra-judicial killings are being normalized all in the name of fighting the pandemic.
Trans-national corporations (TNCs) continue to amass massive profits despite the pandemic. Walmart topped the revenue list of Fortune 500, with registered profit increase of 123.1%, reaching 14.9B USD, while Royal Dutch Shell, despite a decline in its profits, still raked in 15.8B USD in profits. The gap between rich and poor has become scandalous, with only a few billionaires having more than the combined wealth of 4.6 billion people in 2020. As the majority of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty, the world’s richest become wealthier with a 5.1 trillion USD increase in worth from 2020 to 2021. The surfeit lifestyle of the capitalists and landowners continue while workers and peoples of the world boil in poverty and hunger.
The profound impact of the pandemic will reverberate in the coming years, as many governments are facing massive public debts, supposedly to finance the pandemic response. The working people will bear the brunt of the debt payments, as taxes will be raised and economies will further be liberalized and privatized according to the demands of the international financing institutions.
We are all called upon to push back and fight to change this situation. We are called upon to struggle for their most basic rights and interests — from higher wages to regularization in employment, from lower payments for social services to health measures against Covid-19. We are called upon to unite, to form various organizations and unions, and they are called upon to unite with fellow workers and poor peoples outside their workplaces, so they may struggle effectively.
Let our voices be heard and our demands met.