Mail and Guardian: Brace yourselves for the worst or act — now!

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An Op-ed by Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Liv Tørres, Director of the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies

UN Photo / Evan Schneider

Anna, in Texas, lost her job at the hotel cafeteria where she worked. Her fiancé was also laid off, and her 19-year-old daughter is now helping to pay the bills. Meanwhile, in South Africa, Bornwell (a Zimbabwean) has just lost his salary from the restaurant he had managed to build after 12 years in the country. He, like millions of others, has no fallback because he is a foreigner. In Norway, where emergency legislation now requires only two days’ notice, Christin was laid off when her gym closed. In the UK, emergency legislation was not needed for employers to do the same to a Tom, Rob or Rebecca. Nor did employers in Italy require special legislation in order to sack a Luigi, Umberto or Vanessa. Nor in Iran, where an Ahmed or Mohamed were furloughed. There are millions of these examples … all over the world.

“Not my problem,” you may think, if you are living on a government salary, research grant or a high-level corporate arrangement. Yet, you will soon be reminded of how fragile the ground we all walk on is when the world’s current crises have morphed into massively escalating inequality and new pandemics of political polarisation, conflicts and violence explode around the globe. Because millions of people without pay-cheques are not going to sit quietly, watching elites — who ignored the warning signs of this crisis — continue to enjoy their decadent lifestyles. Brace yourselves for the worst or act now. Never has the truth that we are only as strong the weakest link in the chain felt more salient. For, if any part of the chain is infected with the coronavirus, we will all soon be.

Read the full Op-ed at: https://mg.co.za/article/2020-04-09-brace-yourselves-for-the-worst-or-act-now/

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