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labor May Day statement from industriALL

Coronavirus has created a unique May Day: for the first time in 130 years, workers of the world will not take to the streets. Physical distancing, however, doesn’t mean that we are far away from each other: we should stay together in solidarity.

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Hello sisters and brothers, I’m Valter Sanches, the general secretary of industriALL Global Union

I would like to congratulate you all on this May Day. For the first time in 130 years the workers of the world are unable to take to the streets and are unable to defend their rights and their demands.

The crisis that we are going through was a predictable one. If the system had listened to the virologists and the scientists who predicted that such a pandemic could take place it could have been mitigated.

The same neoliberal system and policies that over the years have destroyed public services through privatization and lowering investments is now responsible for the high number of victims.

I would like to honour the over 200,000 victims of this virus who have died, the workers who built the wealth of this world who have lost their lives because the system has failed them.

We are taking this opportunity to work with unions worldwide, to defend the health and safety of our members. This is our number one priority; no one should be hurt while working. If the job is not essential then nobody should be in the workplace and measures should be negotiated. For essential workers, all collective and individual protective equipment must be put in place with measures to protect the health and safety of members. Workers must have access to adequate health coverage in this crisis.

Big companies in the supply chain should commit to keep the jobs and income of the workforce. These should be basic conditions in order for us to get out of this crisis as soon as possible, with workers who have an income so that they consume in order to get the economy going again.

We must demand that multilateral organizations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank make resources available to rescue workers and not banks and big corporations.

Money should be made available for social protection globally. The G20 countries announced 5 trillion dollars as stimulus packages. This money should guarantee income and jobs so that we can have a healthy economy and recover as soon as possible.

In this critical moment my message to the workers is global solidarity. Physical distancing doesn’t mean that we are far away from each other: we should stay together in solidarity.

A luta continua.