May 1, 2020

Mayday: Over 500 organisations call for for a Just Recovery to COVID-19 to protect workers and climate

Over 500 organisations across the globe, including, are demanding that governments apply five core principles to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. The principles are designed to ensure that people and the environment are protected by government actions and pave the way for a just recovery. 

May Boeve, Executive Director of said:

“May 1st is international workers day and since the celebrations began, 100 years ago, never has there been a more stark reminder of its importance. Across the globe key workers are getting us through this crisis, caring for us at home and in hospitals, growing and supplying food, and keeping things moving. But while the extensive lockdowns are helping slow down and limit the spread of the disease, the sudden halt to movements and economic activity is having a catastrophic effect on people’s working hours, pay, and employment prospects globally.”

According to the International Labour Organization, four out of five people in the global workforce of 3.3 billion are affected by full or partial workplace closures. And they warn that as many as 195 million full-time equivalent jobs might also be lost in the process. 

Brett Fleishman, Head of Finance Campaigns said:

“This virus proves how interconnected we are. The solutions we come up with now must ensure that no one is left behind – we need a truly interconnected global approach which first and foremost invests in the safety and health of all people.”

The principles outlined in the demands are:

  1. That health of all people is the top priority
  2. Economic relief targets people directly
  3. Assistance goes to workers and communities; not executives
  4. Stimulus creates resilience for future crises, particularly climate
  5. The response builds solidarity and community and does not empower authoritarians.

The demands are co-signed by Indigenous Peoples organisations, labour groups and unions, feminist organisations, development agencies, climate and environmental NGOs, health, youth, and religious bodies and local activist groups from every continent. 

May Boeve, Executive Director of said:

“The climate crisis requires a change in all sectors of the economy so a just transition for working people and their communities is vital. There has to be a clear pathway back to work for those unemployed, young, and marginalized, creating millions of decent jobs whilst building the zero-carbon future we need.”

Responses envisioned by the signatories include scaled up investment in healthcare systems, direct cash payments and transfers to people, improved working conditions and rights, and ‘green’ strings (i.e. incentives to take climate action) in any stimulus funding provided to corporations and businesses.

“This is an opportunity to ensure both immediate relief and long-term recovery that saves lives. It’s time for real global leadership, and to chart a bold path forward to a livable future for all. The climate crisis will not wait. Now is the time to act boldly, focused on people and the planet. We must make a downpayment on a regenerative economy while preventing future crises,” said Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, North America Director.