PSI Factbook (Digital Publication)

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PSI Factbook (Digital Publication)

PSI Factbook (Digital Publication)

Welcome to our Factbook: a collection of stats, graphs, maps and quotes to arm our global struggle for universal quality public services and workers’ rights.

Table of contents

We made this "Digital Publication" version of our Factbook to make it easy for you to copy, paste and use the text from the printed version and check out the linked sources - but the content itself is the same as the Print/PDF version.You can use the Table of Contents to navigate to the specific PSI sector or issue which you want to find out about.

If you'd prefer to see the Print/PDF version, with all the accompanying visualizations and infographics, then download it directly here:

PSI World Factbook (PDF)

No more digging through mountains of reports on your desk or scanning old email chains just to find that one killer fact. We’ve compiled almost everything worth knowing about our global struggle into our PSI World Factbook - right here : for you. (Print/PDF Version)

We’ve designed this Factbook to be a one-stop-shop to help you challenge broken orthodoxies, win policy debates, educate members; and build hard-hitting powerpoint presentations.

We’re sure you’ve already perused all the great research PSI produces. But in case you missed something, we’ve extracted key findings from our studies, cross-country analyses on core is-sues, sectoral insights from affiliates and institutions along with some spicy quotes from inspiring workers. This book is packed with nuggets of gold so we suggest you keep a copy handy.

At all times.

Happy reading, and may you stun your adversaries with articulate arguments, gob-smacking graphs and pithy points for years to come.

If you want to access many of our most important Publications on which this Factbook is based, check out our Key Publications page (compiled for our Congress in 2023)

The Global Picture

This Global Picture section is a collection of headline stats outlining the current economic and political realities of our struggle.

  • $48 trillion in assets owned by over 900 Public Banks worldwide could be unlocked to drive the green transition and boost inclusive socio-economic development. (World Bank & OECD dogmatically push private finance by claiming public banks only have US$2–5 trillion in assets — they’re wrong.
    (Marois, Thomas/PSI)

  • 90% of ILO Member States now have minimum wage systems in place.

  • The International Energy agency says strong government action to achieve net zero by 2050 would be positive for growth.
    (International Energy Agency)

  • Martin Ford, author of The Rise of the Robots: Technology and the threat of a jobless future, reckons that three kinds of employment will remain resilient to automation: jobs that are creative, relational and responsive to emergencies. Many public service jobs fall into all three of these categories.
    (Ford, Martin/The Guardian)

  • Public services reduce income inequality by up to a third (OECD Study)

  • Poor families would lose three quarters of their disposable income if they had to buy public services directly
    (OECD Study/Oxfam)

  • In recent years, over half of all African states have re-introduced some form of universal basic service provision’
    (D'Arcy, Michelle, The Journal of Modern African Studies)

    The total additional annual expenditure required to achieve Universal Quality Public Services in childcare, adult social care, housing, transport and access to digital information would be around 4.3 % GDP in a typical OECD country.
    (Coote, Anna and Yazici, Edanur/PSI)

  • “All of the Sustainable Development Goals require the provision of public goods… and, therefore, depend on public services to coordinate, mediate or directly provide.”

  • For the first time in 25 years extreme wealth and extreme poverty have sharply increased at the same time.

  • Covid-19 made the 10 richest men twice as rich and 99% of humanity poorer. (Oxfam)

  • “Outcomes for a range of health and social problems are significantly worse in more unequal rich countries.” - The Spirit Level
    (The Spirit Level Wilkinson/Pickett)

  • Inequality contributes to the deaths of over 21,300 people every day.

  • PSI worked with the WHO to warn of a projected health workforce shortage of 18 million by 2030 — and that was before Covid.

  • 125 million full-time jobs were lost in 2021, with many yet to recover.

  • Workers contributed to $1.5 trillion in increased share value for major US corporations through Covid: But more than half that wealth was spent on share buybacks, with workers capturing less than 2%.
    (Molly Kinder, Katie Bach, and Laura Stateler, Brookings Institution)

  • Workers share is shrinking.
    In 1975, 55% of income went to workers.
    In 2015, 40% of income went to workers.
    UNCTAD estimates that nearly two thirds of this decline resulted from the increase in the profits of the largest and most influential corporations.

  • Despite performing more than three quarters of the world’s unpaid care work, women are paid 20% less.

  • IMF research shows excessive corporate profits - not rising wages - are the main cause of inflation. In fact, the EU countries with the lowest inflation rates in 2023 also have wage indexation.
    (IMF) (ECB)

  • 1.7 billion workers worldwide will have seen inflation outpace their wages in 2022: a real-terms cut in their ability to buy food or keep the lights on.

  • In 2023, G77 group of global South countries and China called for a fullscale transformation of the "unfair international economic order." These countries make up 80% of the global population.
    (Havana G77 Declaration)

  • For every dollar earned by billionaires in emerging markets, 33 cents is linked to political connections and privatisations.
    (Freund, Caroline, Rich People Poor Countries: The Rise of Emerging-Market Tycoons and Their Mega Firms)

  • For every dollar the IMF provides poorer countries for social spending, it requires four dollars of cuts more through austerity measures

  • IMF analysis of debt-reduction programs by 33 emerging-market economies and 21 developed economies found “On average consolidations do not lead to a statistically significant effect on the debt ratio.” Plain words: Austerity doesn’t help to reduce debt.

  • For the first time, the UNDP has found that human development is falling in nine out of 10 countries. (2022)

  • The Global Trend (pre-covid)
    91 countries: cutting or capping the public-sector wage bill
    79 countries privatising public services
    120 countries: policies such as targeting social protection
    74 countries: pension reforms
    60 countries: labor flexibilisation reforms
    16 countries: cutting health expenditures
    (Isabel Ortiz, Matthew Cummins/PSI and others, Austerity: The New Normal)

  • Over the next five years from 2023 on, 75% of governments are planning to reduce spending, with cuts totalling $7.8 trillion dollars.

  • Over 6 billion people now live in the grip of austerity across the world.
    (PSI and others: Isabel Ortiz, Matthew Cummins)

  • Nearly 90% of IMF COVID-19 loans require public sector austerity or tax reform.

  • A multi-country study found a significant correlation between increased privatisation and higher Covid-19 death rates among both workers and patients in health and social services.
    (Costly Efficiencies: Health Care Spending, COVID-19, and the Public/Private Health Care Debate,Mouré, Christopher)

  • 7/10 of the largest US drugmakers in 2020 spent more on selling and marketing existing drugs than on research and development for new drugs.
    (America's Health Insurance Plans)

  • Union density is strongly correlated with increasing the share of income going to the bottom 90% of workers.

  • Between 1985 and 2018 the global average corporate tax rate fell by more than half, from 49% to 24%.
    (Gabriel Zucman, Economics for Inclusive Prosperity)

  • The economic damage of inequality “will have to be remedied… by using taxes and government spending to redistribute income. Fortunately, the fear that such policies will themselves necessarily hurt growth is unfounded.”
    (IMF Economists study)

  • From 1990 to 2007, cross border capital flows rose three times faster than world trade flows. Money is no longer flowing in the same way that ‘real trade’ flows.

  • In most markets, private corporations or rich individuals are the largest shareholders in individual companies.

  • In half of the world’s listed companies, the three largest shareholders hold more than 50% of the capital.

  • This gives bankers and financiers huge political power: a 5% shift in global capital flows would be bigger than the combined stock market value of the smallest 55 countries.

  • Rigged markets: The typical American household is paying more than $5,000 a year because corporations, incentivised by wall street, can raise their prices and limit wage growth without fear that competitors will draw away consumers or workers.
    (White House)

  • From 1995 to 2015 The City, London’s financial district, cost the UK population £4.5 trillion in lost growth because of extractive financial techniques.
    (Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute, The UK’s Finance Curse Costs and Processes)

  • An estimate for the United States found cumulative economic losses of $13-23 trillion from 1990-2023 due to an oversized financial sector: $23 trillion is the US’s entire annual GDP.
    (Roosevelt Institute, Gerald Epstein, Juan Antonio Montecino)

  • One in three Europeans now vote anti-establishment, compared to 12% in the early 1990s. Half of these voters support far-right parties – and this is the vote share that is increasing most rapidly.

  • There was a 320% rise in attacks conducted by right-wing terrorists globally between 2014 to 2018.

  • Argentina's extreme-right presidential candidate Javier Milei is pledging to abolish the ministries of education, health, science & tech and transportation among others.
    (New York Times)

  • In 2023, far right-wing parties in almost every European country were either in national or regional government or soon could be.


  • People in countries with publicly funded health care live 10 years longer than those in countries without.
    (Sarah Galvani-Townsend, Isabel Martinez, Abhishek Pandey: Journal of Global Health Study)

    Almost half of humanity lives in countries that spend more on interest payments to creditors than they do on health.

  • For the average nurse to be a billionaire now, they would have to have started working 60,000 years ago. That’s before mammoths went extinct and agriculture was invented.
    (PSI Desk Research based on a baseline average global nurse wage of around 12k)

  • PSI worked with the WHO to warn of a projected health workforce shortage of 18 million by 2030.

  • Over twice as much is spent on healthcare in the USA’s private health system than the UK’s public system, yet health outcomes are worse. The US system also represents twice as big a share of national carbon emissions.
    (Office for National Statistics UK)

  • Admin costs in the US privatized healthcare system are three times more than the amount spent on cancer care.
    (US Senate)

  • Over 150 countries now include the right to health in their constitutions. But only a third of these guarantee the right to public healthcare.
    (World Policy Center)

  • An analysis of 74 low and middle income countries found that increasing health expenditure by just $5 a person could yield up to nine times that value in economic and social benefits including greater GDP growth

  • The global Private Healthcare market is worth US$5.5 Trillion and is projected to double by 2030.
    (Private Healthcare: Global Strategic Business Report)


  • Care sector workers account for 11.5% of all global employment.

  • The unpaid care work done by women across the world everyday is equivalent to over 1.5 billion people working full time.

  • By 2030, it is estimated that 2.3 billion people will need care Governments must drive a massive increase in quality care sector jobs and better frontline services.

  • A European study found almost all countries have experienced a rise in the ‘for-profit’ share of hospitals and care homes. Care sector corporations showed an average annual turnover growth rate close to 10%.
    (European Network of Corporate Observatories)

  • Research by PSI and CICTAR reveals many of the care corporations profiting from the pandemic have spent years dodging taxes, depriving us of the ability to fund a public care system.

  • Free childcare would cost around 3% of GDP, but nine-tenths of the costs would be recouped through employment gains, increased tax revenues and reduced income support payments (UK Example).

  • Hourly wages of personal care workers are 12% lower than what they would earn in other jobs

  • Demand for long-term care workers will increase over next decade.
    Share of LTC Workers as % of total employment by 2023:

  • Employment levels in long-term care (as % of total employment) would need to rise by 32% over the next 10 years to meet the increase in demand for care workers.

  • Low pay reduces the attractiveness of working in long-term care. On average, the hourly wages of personal care workers are 12% lower than what they would earn in other jobs.

  • Long-term care workers also earn 8% less than what they would earn in hospitals.



  • IMF research shows every dollar spent on public infrastructure increases economic output by nearly $3.

  • Every dollar spent on water and sanitation investment gives a $4.3 return in the form of reduced health care costs, less pollution and improved in quality of life.

  • Privatised Electricity — 23.1% higher costs.

  • Privatised water — 16.6% higher costs.

  • Research shows private companies fail to outperform public utilities, even according to their own technical and financial efficiency metrics.

  • In Africa there is no convincing evidence of sustainable private sector investment in water, electricity or transport.

  • Over 330 successful water sector remunicipalisations across the world
    (Public Futures Database)

  • Two thirds of people want public water, rail and energy made public. *according to a recent UK poll.
    (IPSOS Poll)

  • The UK Trade Union Congress estimates that nationalising energy suppliers would cost £2.85bn. This is around the same amount the government spent bailing out energy companies in 2022.
    (UK TUC)

  • There are now free local transport schemes in more than 100 towns and cities worldwide.
    (New York Times)

Education support and cultural workers

  • Two-thirds of poorer countries cut public education funding after the outbreak of Covid-19.

  • 69 million new teachers needed globally by 2030. Over 17 million required in Africa alone. Yet the IMF has been telling many governments to cut or freeze public employment spending, undermining education systems.

  • In Mouans-Sartoux, France, a publicly-owned organic farm delivers 400,000 meals a year to school students, reducing waste by 75%.

  • Over 170 unions and civil society organisations including PSI helped lead a successful campaign to stop the World Bank from promoting Bridge Academies, a notorious privatised education provider.
    (Education International)

  • 120 days of strikes by municipal education workers in Sao Paulo helped prevent children and workers from being sent back to class by the Bolsonaro Government at the height of Covid-19, saving countless lives.

National Administration

  • The Big Four accounting firms employ over 900,000 people – nearly twice the number of all tax department employees in every EU country combined.
    (Corporate Europe)

  • Australian government spending on big four consultancy firms increased by 1,270% since 2012. Spending spiked after the government imposed limits on the number of civil servants.
    (Center for Public Integrity)

    “The vast contracting out of public services to consulting firms poses a ‘black box’ which means billions of dollars in public money public has little or no transparency.” - Transparency International (Australia)
    (Transparency International)

  • Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa need 650,000 tax officials to reach global staffing averages.

  • The two largest US private prison corporations have spent nearly $25 million on lobbying efforts. The vast majority of their funding comes from public budgets.
    (Washington Post)

  • Prisoners housed in private prisons have higher rates of recidivism.
    (Israel, Jacobs, Bemidji State University)

  • Despite their exposure to significant risk, international civil servants such as UN workers lack basic workplace rights, including collective bargaining.

  • Lobbying and regulatory change accounts for four times more increased corporate profitability than research and development.
    (Harvard Business review)

  • For each dollar spent lobbying for a tax break, corporations received returns in excess of $220.
    (Raquel Meyer Alexander, Stephen W. Mazza, Susan Scholz: Journal of Law and Politics)

  • For every dollar spent on lobbying by labour unions and public interest groups, large corporations spend 34 dollars. (US example)
    (The Atlantic)

  • For every dollar spend on tax-enforcement, four dollars is raised in revenue. (US Example)
    (US Treasury)

Local and Regional Govt

  • Over 60% of humanity will live in cities by 2030.

  • Income inequality has increased for more than two-thirds of the world’s urban population since 1980.
    (Our World In Data)

  • Cities generate 70% of global carbon emissions and consume two-thirds of the world’s energy.

  • When faced with crises, Local and Regional Governments are the key providers of life saving public services - yet in 2021 they saw an average revenue lost of 20% across the world. In Africa, their revenue losses were estimated as high as 60%.
    (London School of Economics, Analytics Note #3)

  • Unfunded mandates, lower inter-governmental grants and lack or weak reforms of municipal fiscal systems are driving up deficits and undermining the sustainable funding many LRGs need to deliver local quality public services to all.

  • By 2050 global waste production will be 73% higher than it was in 2020. Yet for middle and low income countries, waste collection currently remains below 50%.
    (World Bank)

  • Public procurement represents 12% of global GDP and should be used to drive sustainable socio-economic development for the benefit of local communities; not to pump up private profits. Local and regional governments represent a significant share of this total: 50% on average across OECD countries.

  • Speculation, financialisation and privatisation have driven the value of residential property to more than twice the world’s GDP, reducing housing affordability for workers and families. Meanwhile in many countries, social housing has been severely privatised. More than 1.8 billion people worldwide lack adequate housing and 150 million remain homeless.


  • Since 2000, the Public Futures database has counted 1600 cases of remuniciaplisation in 75 countries across 111 essential services. Nearly two thirds of these are at the municipal level.
    (Public Futures)

  • An OECD study found that universal access to public services reduced income inequality by an average of 20%. A Latin-American study found a 10-20% reduction.

  • Since remunicipalizing its water supply, Paris has lowered user fees by 8% while increasing accessibility and reducing plastic waste through 1200 public fountains.
    (Eau de Paris en chiffres, Rapport annuel 2017)

  • 95%+ of de-privatisations occur at the sub-national level.
    (Public Futures Database)

  • Democratising public banks could unlock $48 trillion to drive the green transition and boost inclusive socio-economic development.


Global Development

  • A report by the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) describes a “culture of complacency”, prone to “superficial and mechanistic” analysis, characterised by “groupthink” about its own organisational biases.

  • ‘Blended’ finance - using public funds to de-risk private investments - is increasingly presented as the silver bullet for funding the SDGs. But research shows this approach has been raising no more than US$20 billion annually: less than 1% of the SDG financing gap.
    (Overseas Development Institute)

  • $3.9 trillion is required each year for development and climate spending in low- and middle-income countries, in order to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

  • Global South countries making up 80% of the world population in 2023 called for “urgent comprehensive reform of the international financial architecture.”
    (Havana G77 Declaration)

  • Since 1970 an average of 8 countries have faced a sovereign debt crisis. This debt is often caused by tax dodging, corruption, bail-outs for reckless banks and unsustainable subsidies for corporations.

  • For every US$1 that flows into a low-income country, in investment more than twice that amount is lost in interest payments, profit-taking by foreign investors, loans to rich countries and tax dodging.

  • Rich countries have failed to deliver on aid promises, underpaying LICs and MICs to the tune of $6.5 trillion since the UN 0.7% resolution was passed in 1970.

  • For years, over 70 countries reformed their regulations to try achieve a better World Bank report score.

  • In 2018 The World Bank’s own Chief Economist admitted data from Chile was manipulated to make business conditions look worse under a socialist president ahead of an election.
    (Wall Street Journal)

  • In 2019 a PSI-supported campaign succeeded in pushing World Bank to abandon the Report.

  • A study now shows countries with higher Report scores did not experience higher GDP growth.
    (Karl Whelan, Tamanna Adhikari, Journal of Comparative Economics)

    Oxfam’s Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index 2022, compared 161 governments and found that:

  • Half of low-and lower-middle-income countries saw the share of health spending fall during the pandemic.

  • Half of the countries tracked cut the share of social protection spending.

  • 70% cut the share of education spending.

  • Two-thirds of countries failed to increase their minimum wage in line with gross domestic product (GDP).

  • Ninety five percent of countries failed to increase taxation of the richest people and corporations.

    (Oxfam, The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index 2022, comparative study of 161 governments)


  • Since the start of the pandemic, the world’s richest 1% captured almost two-thirds of all new wealth – nearly twice as much money as the bottom 99%.

  • Billionaire fortunes: +$2.7bn per day, Meanwhile 1.7 billion workers face effective pay cuts from inflation.

  • Only 4 cents in every dollar of tax revenue comes from wealth taxes.

  • US billionaires pay a lower actual tax rate than teachers and nurses.

  • A one-off 25% wealth tax on billionaires could pay the annual salaries of over 250 million nurses worldwide.
    (PSI Desk research, billionaire wealth vs annual average nurse salary)

  • An annual tax of up to 5% on the world’s multi-millionaires and billionaires could raise $1.7 trillion a year, enough to lift 2 billion people out of poverty, and fund a global plan to end hunger.

  • Since 1980 global corporate profits have risen fivefold, while global average corporate tax rates have more than halved from 49% to 24%

  • Apple’s secret Irish tax deals allowed it to pay an effective tax rate below 1%. This cost EU countries over USD 14.5 billion: enough to pay annual salaries to over 300,000 nurses.
    (The Guardian)

  • $20-30 trillion+ estimated to be held offshore - equivalent to an entire US GDP and enough to end world poverty ten times over.
    (James Henry)

  • The EU’s phony blacklist of tax havens includes just 16 countries - none of them in Europe.
    (Council of Europe)

  • Tax leaks like the Panama Papers have named thousands of bankers, millionaires and former politicians: but not a single firefighter, care worker or rubbish collector has been implicated.

  • The world loses an entire annual nurses salary to tax dodging, every single second.

  • $483 billion per year lost globally to global tax abuse.

  • Lower income countries collectively lose nearly half their public health budgets.

  • When the UK Government fired 3000 tax workers, a parliamentary committee estimated they lost £10 lost tax for every £1 saved.

  • 650,000 new tax officials needed in sub-saharan Africa to reach global staffing averages.
    (PSI Tax Briefs)

  • Tanzania’s international tax unit, focused on mining, bought in 10 times more in tax revenue than it cost in staffing.
    (Natural Resource Governance Institute)

  • After the financial crisis, employment in tax offices was counterintuitively cut in 24 out of the 28 EU member states, with the loss of 50,000 jobs and huge potential revenues.

  • The African continent loses up to $50billion per year in illicit financial flows, mostly in tax avoidance and evasion.

  • The OECD says Developing countries lose three times more money to tax havens than they receive in development aid.

  • Tax revenue for low and middle income countries has fallen from 12% of GDP in 2010 to 10.5% of by 2020.

  • A UK-based “special investigations unit” that fights the most complex tax avoidance cases has yielded 450 times its costs.


  • $50 billion has been transferred from public budgets to private corporations as a result of Investor State Dispute Settelement clauses within free trade agreements, which give corporations the right to sue states to block progressive policy.

  • Almost ¾ of ISDS decisions in the utilities sector benefited investors.

  • USD$1.1 billion paid by Equador through ISDS to a US-based oil company - equivalent to 90% of its social welfare costs.

  • 145,000+ people wrote to the EU to oppose Investor State Dispute Settlements.

  • In Latin America and the Caribbean there is no direct link between more BITs and more foreign investment.

  • The revenues of the top 2,000 multinational corporations have almost tripled since 1995.

  • From 1990 to 2007, cross border capital flows rose three times faster than world trade flows. Money is no longer flowing in the same way that ‘real trade’ flows.

  • This gives bankers and financiers huge political power: a 5% shift in global capital flows would be bigger than the combined stock market value of the smallest 55 countries.

  • Every single Pharmaceutical Developed in the US since 2010 received public funding.
    (Institute for New Economic Thinking)

  • 7/10 of the largest US drugmakers in 2020 spent more on selling and marketing existing drugs than on research and development for new drugs.
    (America's Health Insurance Plans)

  • Public and charitable funds accounted for over 97% of all research investment for the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
    (British Medical Journal)

  • Yet big pharma firms were allowed to rake in over USD$90billion in profits from COVID-19 vaccines and medicines.

  • PSI helped rally the WHO, MSF and the majority of the world’s governments behind the TRIPS Waiver proposal which would waive patents on vaccines and supplies.

  • After years of campaigning by PSI affiliates and allies, we managed to derail the Trade In Services Agreement negotiations which could have opened up a range of public services for privatisations and limited remunicipalisations.

Challenging Corporate Power

  • EDF Global Framework Agreement negotiated by PSI and IndustriALL covers 160k workers in 24 countries

  • Fresenius, a multinational health and care provider, is actively undermining attempts by PSI and affiliates to organise its 300,000+ workforce. In 2020, PSI, working with CICTAR and renowned economist Gabriel Zucman revealed Fresenius is using a network of tax havens to shift profits and avoid higher corporate taxes.

  • Many CEOs complain about labour shortages - but we couldn’t find a single CEO offering their workers a pay package even close to what they earn.

Global Framework Agreements: an important (but flawed) tool

  • Negotiated between a GUF like PSI and a major corporation with oversight from the ILO

  • All GFAs should include the four fundamental principles and rights at work and specifically reference ILO Core Conventions

  • There are fewer than 200 GFAs but over 100,000 multinationals.
    Brookings Institute

  • When done well, they can improve workplace conditions and limit corporate attacks on organising.

  • They can also be used by corporations to undermine legitimate unions and improve their public image.

Orpea: the wrong sort of GFA

  • In 2022, UNI signed a GFA with notorious private-care provider Orpea.

  • Orpea was already embroiled in corruption scandals, tax dodging revelations and reports of brutal conditions for staff and residents.

  • The GFA was negotiated in secret without the involvement of thousands of workers and legitimate unions in the sector including ver.di, CGT and CFDT.

  • Members of Orpea management team who oversaw the GFA are now facing criminal charges under investigation for alleged mistreatment of residents, misuse of public funds, and controlling “money laundering and corruption vehicle.”
    (Investigate Europe)

  • Workers share is shrinking.
    In 1975, 55% of income went to workers.
    In 2015, 40% of income went to workers.
    Two thirds of this decline resulted from pumped up profits of biggest corporations (UNCTAD)
    (PSI/UNCTAD Debt Briefs)

  • In 1965 the average US worker worked 20 years what the average CEO made in one year. By 2019 this had spiralled to 339 years
    (PSI/UNCTAD Debt Briefs)

  • Only nine countries have governments that generate as much tax revenue as Walmart’s revenue.
    (PSI/UNCTAD Debt Briefs)

  • The top 1% of exporting firms account for over 50% of country export revenues in many developed countries.

  • 321 activists were killed in 2019 for protesting corporate environmental crimes.
    (People vs Corporations)

Trade Union Rights, Whistleblowers

In 2023, violations of workers’ rights reached record highs.

  • 90% of governments violated the right to strike

  • 80% of governments violated the right to collective bargaining

  • 35% of governments arrested workers/trade union leaders

  • 58 countries have ratified ILO Convention 151 on unionising in the public sector. 32 countries have ratified ILO convention 190 on Violence and Harassment at work

  • Trade unions are among the world's largest representative organisations, with over 251 million members

  • 35 per cent of world’s workers are covered by collective bargaining, but 58% remain in informal employment.

  • ILO data shows the labour income share is up to 15% higher in countries with full collective bargaining coverage.

  • In 47 countries, collective bargaining coverage exceeds union density rates, highlighting how union gains extend beyond membership.

  • Most countries with collective bargaining coverage above 75% employ multi-employer bargaining at the sector or national level.

  • Studies in US, UK and Australia show union members earn +20% more than non union workers.

  • 40% OECD countries have no protection for public-service whistleblowers.

  • Up to 38% of workers suffer retaliation for whistleblowing in the US public sector compared with up to 18% in Norway, where legislation and unionisation are stronger.

  • 58 Countries have ratified ILO Convention 151 allowing workers in the public sector to unionise.


  • A study from Stanford Business School found that “technology entrepreneurs overwhelmingly hope to see labour unions’ influence decline”
    (Stanford Business School)

  • 90% of digital tools used in public services are developed by third parties

  • Estimates from leading figures in tech, Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, Edward Felton, Deputy Chief Technology Officer of President Obama

  • Microsoft’s known national government contracts in just five countries over five years exceeds $3.37 billion

  • 71% of countries have Data Protection and Privacy Legislation. But it remains outdated and unfit for purpose in many contexts.

  • A Public Citizen study has identified nearly 50 apps and technologies being introduced into the workplace. The default setting is “mass surveillance by default.”
    (Public Citizen)

  • Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft collectively increased their profits more than 55% in 2021
    (Market Watch)

  • If these companies were a country they would rank 13th in GDP, just behind Brazil and ahead of Australia.
    (Market Watch)

  • “Platforms like Google and Facebook are public utilities.. we need a fundamental reorientation of the ownership and governance structures of platforms, so they are run for the people and not for profit.”
    - Dr James Muldoon, University of Exeter

  • FNV Unions (Netherlands) reported that 1/10 jobs were cut as a result of the digitalisation of legal services.

  • UNITE (UK) believes 1/6 members could lose their jobs to automation by 2035.

  • Three kinds of employment are expected to remain resilient to automation: Jobs that are creative, relational and responsive to emergencies. Many public service jobs fall into all three of these categories.
    (Martin Ford, author of The Rise of the Robots)


  • Trade Union’s for Energy Democracy brings together over 100 trade union bodies in the struggle for a green transition led through strong public control over our energy systems and fair conditions for the workers involved.

  • For every $4 committed to climate financing by public financial institutions, less than $1 was added by the private sector - the market will not save us.

  • The twenty richest billionaires emit as much as 8000 times more carbon than the billion poorest people.

  • A 2% tax on extreme wealth could raise two thirds of our global climate transition costs, estimated at $3.5 trillion per year.
    (Institute for Policy Studies)(Mckinsey)

  • The rise in diseases, chronic conditions and abnormal temperatures from climate change already contribute to more than 5 million deaths each year.
    (The Lancet)

  • The International Energy Agency says achieving net zero by 2050 would be positive for growth.
    (International Energy Agency)

  • Even in the US, where climate skepticism remains rampant, over 75% of people support international efforts to reduce emissions.

  • “State-owned utilities dedicate higher shares of investments to renewables” (MIT Study)

  • 9 out of the top 10 countries in the world who are leading the energy transition to renewables  have a publicly owned renewable energy generation company.
    (We Own It)

  • 20 companies, of which 12 are state-owned, are responsible for more than one-third of greenhouse gas emissions
    (Climate Accountability Institute 2020)

  • The UN estimates a 2 degree temperature rise will cause:

    250,000 climate deaths per year

    Over 150 million climate migrants

  • In Bangladesh, publicly owned companies helped install more than three million solar panels in rural areas, bringing clean electricity to thirteen million people.

  • Leipzig, Germany turned its open coal mines into Europe’s largest artificial lakeland, employing 20,000 workers along the way

  • Since the pandemic, over a dozen countries have taken steps to reclaim their energy systems to public ownership including: Australia, Mexico, Uganda, Honduras, Chile, Chad, Norway, and the US State of New York.
    (Trade Unions for Energy Democracy/We Own It)

Emergency Workers

  • 88,000 Firefighters injured on the job in the US each year
    (Denise Smith, National Library of Medicine USA)

  • 6,500 assaults Emergency Staff were recorded in the UK in 2018.
    (UK Gov)

  • 132 countries still didn't ratify ILO convention 151 which enables public service workers to unionise

  • “Increasingly frequent and complex emergencies require that a more diverse range of PES workers labour under difficult and extreme conditions to save lives and protect property and the environment.”

  • "As Emergency Workers in Japan, we are deprived of the essential trade union rights we need to save lives in safety."
    (Reina Aoki, Jichiro/PSI)


  • Women perform more than three quarters of the world’s unpaid care work.

  • 3.5 million people, mostly women, die annually from indoor air pollution cause by lack of clean fuels for cooking.

  • Research shows women and girls are responsible for water collection in 80% of households without onsite water supply. Women work 200 million hours gathering water daily across the world.

  • These burdens can all be reduced through gender responsive public services.

  • The gender pay gap has widened: before the pandemic it was forecast to take 100 years to close; now it will take 136 years.
    (World Economic Forum)

  • “The majority of jobs ‘created’ by multinational corporations for women - mostly in export processing industries and value chains – have been extremely precarious and among the worst paid and most exploitative.”
    - UNCTAD/PSI Debt Brief

  • Over the next five years from 2023 on, 75% of governments are planning to reduce spending, with the cuts totalling $7.8 trillion dollars. Women will pay a disproportionate price.

  • ”Austerity measures only intensify our existing dependence on unpaid care and increase women’s workloads as social programmes are cut.”
    (Gender and Development Network)

  • Analysis finds austerity hits women harder, including Black and minority ethnic women, disabled women, and lone parents.
    (Women’s Budget Group UK)

  • Thousands of Women Community Health Workers in Asia have been successfully organising with the support of PSI and our partners, winning union recognition and better conditions and challenging neoliberal development models.

  • Labour force participation: 72% for men, 47% for women In a majority of countries, women are more exposed than men to informal employment.
    (ILO Data, 2022)

Migration and Refugees

  • Over 100-million people are displaced worldwide. The number of people displaced by disasters (23.7 million) is now almost double than those caused by conflicts and violence (14.4 million).

  • While economically advanced countries are building walls and border fences, developing countries that are ravaged by conflicts and disasters continue to host 85% of the world’s refugees.

  • High-income countries have nearly 12 times as many people employed in the health sector as low-income ones - and must not continue to rely on international migration to solve their staffing shortages.

  • 78% of unions said the pandemic had negatively impacted the rights of migrant health and care workers.

    40% reported problems with short term contracts and job insecurity.

    27% said migrant workers had higher levels of illness and death from covid.
    (PSI Survey)

LGBTI Workers

  • 64 countries continue to criminalise LGBT+ relationships 32 in Africa and 26 are in Asia-Pacific, and 6 in the Americas.

  • 10 countries execute LGBT+ people.

  • 77 countries prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. 46 countries prohibit discrimination in employment based on gender identity.
    (Human Dignity Trust)

  • 146 current members of PSI’s current global LGBT+ working group.

  • 1/3 LGBT+ people in the EU believe disclosing their sexual orientation could have a negative impact on their career
    (Unions Syndicale EU)

  • Over 4,0000 trans and gender diverse people were murdered between 2008 and 2021.
    (Trans Respect)

  • A European study found the unemployment rate is higher for individuals in a same-sex partnership


  • 1.3 billion people experience significant disability. This represents 16% of the world's population.

  • During Covid, there were higher mortality rates among persons with intellectual disabilities, who are also less likely to receive intensive care services.

  • Workforce participation for people with disabilities is 30% lower. (Australia example)
    (Human Rights Australia)

  • Many people with disabilities die up to 20 years earlier than those without disabilities.

  • There is a $10 return for every $1 spent on implementing disability-inclusive prevention and care for noncommunicable diseases.

  • Women with disabilities are 2–4 times more likely to experience intimate partner violence
    (BMC Women’s Health)

  • 50% of people with disability cannot afford adequate healthcare

  • People with a disability are 4 times more likely to be badly treated within the health system
    (National Institute of Health USA)

  • Public health provides tailoring for groups with higher health needs as part of broader social health initiatives.

  • Public education encourages integration, offers quality employment for disabled workers at schools and provides vital services for children with disabilities.

Young Workers

  • 80% young workers in Africa are in the informal economy

  • Young workers experienced a much higher loss in employment than adults through the pandemic

  • 43% workers in the EU under 24 are on fixed-term contracts

  • 1/4 public employers have a formal process for transitioning temporary workers to full-time contracts


  • “Job instability and the lack of social protection coverage for young digital gig workers are issues that need to be addressed by policymakers.”
    (ILO Youth Employment report 2022)

  • 8.4 million new jobs for young people could be created by 2030 through green policy measures. 17.9 million new jobs for young people could be created through investments in health, long-term care and education.

  • At PSI’s 2017 congress we doubled the number of young workers on the Executive Board.

  • 10.7 per cent of all young workers were in health and social work, education or domestic work just before the onset of the pandemic.

  • In the US in the 1980s fewer than 10% of college graduates took on an internship; today that figure is above 70%, with the majority of them unpaid.
    (Economics of Education Review)