ITUC Global Poll 2022: a world on the brink

Workers across the globe are struggling to make ends meet under the weight of a worldwide cost of living crisis.

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Global Poll 2022 provides a stark insight into a precarious world on the brink of recession.

Two in five households (43 per cent) have experienced a loss of jobs or working hours, and one in two (51 per cent) say their income is stagnating or falling behind the cost of living.

The inequalities and injustices that are at the heart of the failed economic system, with huge deficits in corporate and financial regulation, have been brutally exposed and massively deepened by the Covid-19 pandemic. Deficient government responses to the ongoing pandemic are driving further precarity, inequality and a deep public health crisis.

The very foundations of democracy and the global economy have been shattered. Governments, cowered by corporate greed, have failed to act in the interests of working people.

When 56 per cent of people polled say that fear of repercussions would prevent them from reporting corporate malpractice, we know that corporate social responsibility has failed, with repercussions across the foundations that working people need for a new social contract:

• Jobs: 66 per cent are worried about people losing jobs.
• Rights: 55 per cent of people are worried about the weakening of labour laws, while 53 per cent say rates of violence in the world of work have increased.
• Wages: One in ten (13 per cent) do not have enough money for basic essentials like housing, food and electricity. Three-quarters of people (72 per cent) think the minimum wage is not enough to live a decent life.
• Social protection: 87 per cent support affordable access to healthcare, but 67 per cent worry about the capacity of healthcare systems to cope.
• Equality: 66 per cent are worried about inequality in earnings and opportunities between men and women.
• Inclusion: 69 per cent believe the economic system favours the wealthy.

The Poll (which was carried by the global polling company YouGov on behalf of the ITUC) shows clearly that working people know that economic and social progress has stalled or is in reverse. The economic system favours the interests of the few, while government services are stretched to breaking point and workers’ rights are attacked, with violence and harassment at work increasing.

But working people are clear in their demands. They know that the answer is a new social contract based on climate-friendly jobs, rights, wages, social protection, equality and inclusion:

• Some 60 per cent would trust their government more if they increased the minimum wage and committed to decent work.
• 69 per cent want governments to do more to make sure companies pay their fair share of tax.
• More than 80 per cent support social protection: affordable healthcare, decent retirement incomes, maternity leave and unemployment benefits.
• 62 per cent want their government to promote peace, jobs and human rights.
• 46 per cent would trust their government more if they planned a just transition to climate-friendly jobs.

We support working people in their goals of peace with inclusive social and economic progress that delivers prosperity and a sustainable future.

Right now, these objectives are out of reach for many people. But, with the application of these clear demands, with a new social contract, we can turn the tide and create an economy that works for working people.

This is urgent. Governments and companies need to set out an action plan now to deliver a new social contract and to start to repair the damage.