UN calls for pay cap for workers in 'destructive industries'

The United Nations released a report calling for higher wages for essential workers in fields like healthcare and sanitation while capping pay in industries such as finance trading and fossil fuel excavation. The report reveals that one in five workers worldwide lives in poverty, as many important jobs pay only minimum wage, leaving workers vulnerable to inflation. The gig economy and weakened collective bargaining further contribute to in-work poverty. The report emphasizes the need for fair wages that reflect the importance of certain professions and reduce income inequality.

UN calls for pay cap for workers in 'destructive industries'
A UN report is calling for caps on pay for workers in

Essential workers in fields like health care and sanitation should earn higher wages, and governments should cap pay in destructive industries like finance trading and fossil fuel excavation. That's the call to action of a new report on the working poor released Friday by the United Nations.

"It is time to flip this injustice on its head," UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier De Schutter, said in a press release.

"Governments should draw up lists of the most socially valuable professions and pay them accordingly, while also listing the professions where pay should be capped to mitigate their harmful side effects."

20% of global workers live in poverty

According to the latest findings, one in five workers in the world is living in poverty.

"Most of the world's poor people work, yet they do not earn a wage sufficient to afford an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families," the introduction to the report reads.

Many of the workers in jobs that society relies on to function, such as food production, transport, cleaning and sanitation, are earning the minimum wage in their country, the report says. This is often not enough to keep these workers out of poverty, especially in the face of soaring inflation and stagnating wage growth.

Global monthly wages fell in real terms by 0.9% in the first half of 2022, the UN found — the first global wage decline this century.