1 May 2020

With over 3 Million Jobs Lost amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Honouring Dignity of Work Key to Building Back Better, Secretary-General Says on International Labour Day

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day of Labour, observed today:

In many countries around the world, today is a day to celebrate workers.  This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic unfolding around us, we are truly seeing workers who too often toil unseen.

Perhaps, as never before, we recognize the role that essential workers play in keeping our societies functioning — getting food to tables and markets, keeping public transportation running, and of course, ensuring the operation of our hospitals and health systems.

We are also reminded of the enormous toll that the pandemic is taking on the global workforce.  As the International Labour Organization (ILO) reported this week, the global workforce will be hit with the equivalent of the loss of more than 300 million jobs.

As we seek to build back better in the wake of this pandemic, the well‑being of people must be at the centre of economic and social policies with a special focus on who are being furthest left behind.

We can build a fair globalization rooted in equality, sustainability and justice.  The pathway is by honouring the dignity of work not only in words, but deeds — not only once a year, but every day.

For information media. Not an official record.