Sharan Burrow admits to being worried. And with good reason. As general secretary of the International Trades Union Congress (ITUC), she represents around 200 million workers in 163 countries – people at the sharp end of one of the deepest and most severe economic recessions for a century.
Noone yet knows the precise magnitude of today’s global economic crisis, but none of the post-Covid-19 scenarios makes for pretty reading. The International Labour Organiszation (ILO) estimates that 400 million jobs were lost between April and June, with anywhere between 140 million and 340 million to follow. “I’m an optimist, but I don’t think the world has really thought about the true scale of the potential crisis,” says Burrow, who came up through the ranks for of Australia’s union movement before taking the top job at the ITUC in 2010.