RESEARCH TITLE: “THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON THE WORKING PEOPLE IN SOUTHERN AFRICA: THE ROLE OF TRADE UNIONS”
4th June 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has already infected over 6 million people resulting in more than 300,000 deaths globally, has transformed into an economic and labour market shock. It has impacted not only the supply (production of goods and services) but also demand (consumption and investment).
Disruptions to production, initially in Asia, have now spread to supply chains across the world. All businesses, regardless of size, are facing serious challenges, especially those in the aviation, tourism and hospitality industries, with a real threat of significant declines in revenue, insolvencies and job losses in specific sectors.
Following travel bans, border closures and quarantine measures, many workers cannot move to their places of work or carry out their jobs, which has knock-on effects on incomes, particularly for informal and casually- employed workers. Consumers in many economies are unable or reluctant to purchase goods and services. Given the current environment of uncertainty and fear, enterprises are likely to delay investments, purchases of goods and the hiring of workers.
Prospects for the economy and the quantity and quality of employment are deteriorating rapidly. While updated forecasts vary considerably — and largely underestimate the situation — they all point to a significant negative impact on the global economy, at least in the first half of 2020. These worrisome figures show growing signs of a global economic recession.
Swift and coordinated policy responses are needed at national and global level, with strong multilateral leadership, to limit the direct health effects of COVID-19 on workers and their families, while mitigating the indirect economic fallout across the global economy.
Protecting workers and their families from the risk of infection needs to be a top priority. Demand-side measures to protect those facing income losses because of infection or reduced economic activity are critical to stimulating the economy.
Governments from the SADC Region have announced several measures to deal with COVID-19 and some are exploring stimulus packages to assist businesses and workers. Most businesses are forced to shut down and others to cut-down on operating hours. Workers are encouraged to telework to curb the spread.
At the same time, some Workers’ Organisations in the SADC region are providing guidelines to their members and workers on how to deal with COVID-19 in their workplaces. For example, Congress of South African Trade Union (COSATU) provides information on its website and gives the number of a national hotline. Its affiliate, the National Union of Mineworkers has also posted a list of requests to respond effectively to the crisis, in collaboration with the industry and the government. At regional level, the Southern Africa Trade Union Coordination Council (SATUCC) held a virtual meeting for Workers’ Organisations in the SADC region on 2nd April 2020 to share information on (i) measures put in place by Governments to deal with the economic effects of COVID-19 in the immediate and short term, and (ii) concerns by Trade Union organisations when negotiating at workplace, sectoral and national levels amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
PURPOSE OF THE RESEARCH
This research is aimed at strengthening SATUCC’s capacity as well as that of its affiliates to derive concrete and practical interventions on the catastrophic impacts of COVID-19 pandemic in Southern Africa. Most importantly, SATUCC will be able to use this research to inform the development of a harmonised position on the current challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic on the working people within the framework of decent work agenda. In addition, SATUCC will also be able to significantly contribute towards the various on-going consultations, drafting and implementation of multi-sectoral responses on the devastating impacts of COVID-19 pandemic at both national and regional level.
GUIDING RESEARCH QUESTIONS / SCOPE
OVERALL REQUIREMENTS FOR THE RESEARCH
The research must put forward feasible, concrete recommendations on necessary interventions to curb the impacts of global pandemics such as COVID-19. SATUCC has strong gender equality requirements / targets through the implementation of its Gender Policy. Therefore, the research process and content must be gender sensitive.
Font; Times New Roman, Font size: 12; Single line spacing, standard editing and grammar, Harvard referencing; additional information can be attached as annexes and/or endnotes to the mainstream text; all data, graphs, tables, cartoons, diagrams and quotes must be fully referenced – with referenced provided in the annex. Any text presented in the publication that are the authors’ but have been published must be fully referenced. Strictly no plagiarism. Text must be original (no plagiarism), as SATUCC will publish the document and have an ISBN number for the publication.
All efforts must be made to use up-to-date data/information where applicable.
Administrative arrangements and deliverables
How to apply