PSI in collaboration with its affiliates in the Arab world will organize a webinar on April 8th, 2021, from 15h30-18h30 Beirut time, with the aim to formulate a trade union strategy to respond to the health crisis. The webinar will be in English and Arabic. PSI General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli, will be opening the session followed by Sani Baba Mohammed, PSI Regional Secretary for Africa and Arab Countries.
The Arab sub region is continuing to witness multidimensional crises, taking the form of conflicts, wars, economic and social inequalities exacerbated by the COVID 19 pandemic that widespread in March 2020. The pandemic exposed the scarcity of the public health sector, while only few wealth people can benefit from the private health services where profit comes first. The pandemic also led to severe repercussions at the economic, social, and political levels. Unemployment is expected to increase by 1.2 percentage points, meaning the loss of around 1.7 million jobs. The Arab region registers some of the highest rates of inequality around the world, and informal employment accounts for 50% of jobs. It also lacks universal social protection systems and is thus unable to protect workers and ensure their dignity during work stoppages.
Public services have been neglected in many countries of the region, with International Monetary Funds - IMF financing conditional on fiscal consolidation rather than on the provision of quality, affordable and accessible basic services. The most recent injection of emergency loan funding has made this even more apparent. The IMF has pumped $3.9bn in emergency loans into MENA in response to the pandemic, but with strong guidance to prioritize the resumption of fiscal consolidation once the crisis abates. This focus on fiscal consolidation rather than on people is a worrying indicator that continuing, or even deeper austerity will be the status quo across the region once the health crisis begins to subside.
How do the representatives of the workers describe the situation? What is their response to ensure quality public services accessible to all for free or at affordable prices? What was the governments’ response to the crisis in terms of providing social protection, occupational safety and health to the workers women and men? What are the governments’ policies related to the vaccines.
To answer these questions, PSI in collaboration with its affiliates in the Arab world will organize a webinar on April 8th, 2021, with the aim to formulate a trade union strategy to respond to the health crisis.
The main topics that will be tackled during this webinar are:
Quality Public health for all in time of Crisis and workers protection, including the access to the vaccine.
The policies of the International Monetary Funds during the Pandemic and its social and economic impacts.