A Better Future for Essential Workers
The Global Deal, in cooperation with Open Society Foundations, is organizing a virtual high-level conference in the afternoon of the 6th and 7th April 2022 on the critical role of essential workers in supporting economies, societies and businesses.
The aim of this high-level event is to discuss practical changes that would improve the working lives of both formal and informal essential workers.
The conference will offer an opportunity for governments, businesses, labor, civil society, and international organizations to engage and to find solutions together. It will highlight examples of practices that have been shown to work during the pandemic but that need to be sustained in the longer term — such as providing essential workers with sustainable livelihoods, access to social protection, health and safety at the workplace and ending violence and harassment in the world of work.
During the two-day panels, workers representing the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF), HomeNet International, StreetNet International, and WIEGO will participate during the virtual meetings to bring the voices and experiences of the most marginalized workers to demand principles and practices that respond to their particular needs.
DAY 1: Wednesday, April 6, 2022
Panel 1 – Fair pay and decent working conditions
Time: 8:00 - 9:00 AM EDT
Watch related video "Organizing for power"
The COVID-19 pandemic underlines the crucial role that essential workers play in supporting economies, societies and businesses. It is also a reminder that their remuneration does not always reflect the value of their work, putting the livelihood of millions of workers at risk. This panel will highlight how social dialogue has been mobilized to secure a fairer remuneration.
- OPENING REMARKS: Mathias Cormann, Secretary-General, OECD
- Richard Lochhead, Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work, Scotland
- Thea Lee, Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs, United States
- Klas Balkow, CEO, Axfood
- Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
- Janhavi Dave, International Coordinator, HomeNet International
Panel 2 – Access to social protection
Time: 9:00 - 10:00 AM EDT
Watch related video "Stand with Essential workers"
By ensuring access to healthcare and by providing income replacement, social protection has shielded people from financial insecurity and poverty during the pandemic. However, there are important gaps in social protection, especially for informal workers and workers in non-standard-employment. This panel will discuss initiatives that have been taken by governments and social partners to cover such gaps.
- Thembelani Thulas Nxesi, Minister of Employment and Labour, South Africa
- Luz Vidal Huiriqueo, Undersecretary of the Ministry for Women and Gender Equality, Chile
- María Cotal Neira, President of FESINTRACAP, International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF), Chile
- Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary, Public Services International (PSI)
- Laura Alfers, Social Protection Programme Director, WIEGO
- CLOSING REMARKS: Eva Nordmark, Minister of Labour and Employment, Sweden
DAY 2: Thursday, April 7, 2022
Panel 3 – Improving occupational health and safety
Time: 8:00 - 9:00 AM EDT
Watch related video "A new deal for the care sector"
Many essential workers have been at the frontline of the pandemic, continuing to work in close proximity with others despite the risk of exposing themselves to the coronavirus. This panel will demonstrate how social dialogue can make a difference by providing essential workers with better health protection at work.
- OPENING REMARKS: Laleh Ispahani, Co-director, Open Society-U.S.
- Beatrice de Lavalette, Vice-President of the Regional Council of Île-de-France, Deputy Mayor of the City of Suresnes in charge of HR and social dialogue, France
- Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, CEO, BNP Paribas
- Sophie Boissard, CEO, Korian
- Christy Hoffman, General Secretary, UNI Global Union
Panel 4 – Ending violence and harassment in the world of work
Time: 9:00 - 10:00 AM EDT
Watch related video "Support Essential Workers: Stop Violence and Harassment at Work"
Work-related violence and harassment have increased as a result of the pandemic, and this has often taken the form of gender-based violence. Essential workers and those suspected to be carriers of COVID-19 have also been at risk of stigmatization, discrimination, and violence. This panel will look at the measures taken by governments and social partners to address this problem.
- Claudio Moroni, Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security, Argentina
- Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Labour, Canada
- Sophie Bellon, Interim CEO, Sodexo
- Shawna Bader-Blau, Executive Director, Solidarity Center
- Frances Onopke, Federation of Informal Workers Organisation of Nigeria, StreetNet affiliate
- CLOSING REMARKS: Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labour Organization
OECD Forum 2022: https://www.oecd.org/forum/
Florence Bonnet, Françoise Carré, Martha A. Chen, and Joann Vanek. Home-based Workers in the World: A Statistical Profile, WIEGO Statistical Brief No. 27, January 2021. Read here.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Home-Based Workers Around the World: Workers Speak up and Demand Recovery Efforts, HNI Webinar, 2021. Watch here.
Train the Trainers Toolkit on the ILO Violence and Harassment Convention (No. 190) and Recommendation (No. 206), IDWF and Global Unions.
- Read Activity Workbook English, Spanish, French, Arabic
- Read Facilitator Guide English, Spanish, French, Arabic
Mobilizing during the COVID-19 pandemic, StreetNet International Report, Dec 2020. Read here.
Enabling Social Protection within the Informal Economy: Lessons from Worker-led Schemes in Nigeria, Uganda and Togo, Temilade Sesan, WIEGO & StreetNet International, 2021. Read here.
WIEGO Social Protection Briefing Notes. These briefs comprise country cases of measures to protect informal workers from risks from lockdowns, from the pandemic itself, and from more hazardous situations that may arise. Read here.