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Posters in the window a a closing-down shop advertise a "Stock Liquidation" in Manchester, northern England on August 12, 2020.Paul Ellis | AFP | Getty Images

The global economy has performed better-than-expected but it is still on track for an "unprecedented" decline in output, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned Wednesday.

In its latest economic outlook, the OECD said the world economy will contract by 4.5% this year — an upward revision from an estimate made in June that pointed to a 6% fall in gross domestic product (GDP).

"The drop in global output in 2020 is smaller than expected, though still unprecedented in recent history," the OECD said in its report.

Going forward, the OECD expects the global economy to grow by 5% in 2021. Nonetheless, the outlook "remains exceptionally uncertain" due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Critically-hit sectors, such as the travel and tourism industries, have not fully recovered from the strict lockdown measures imposed earlier this year. Many countries are grappling with a resurgence in the number of infections. As a result, authorities might introduce new restrictions in the coming weeks to contain new waves — which would add further pressure on the global economy.

"Output picked up swiftly following the easing of confinement measures and the initial re-opening of businesses, but the pace of the global recovery has lost some momentum over the summer months," the OECD said.

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The Paris-based institution, an intergovernmental body which aims to stimulate economic development, also warned of "considerable differences" across different countries.

China, the United States and the euro area are expected to perform better than originally forecast in June. In comparison, growth expectations for India, Mexico and South Africa have worsened.

China is seen growing by 1.8% in 2020 — the only country among the OECD estimates that's expected to experience growth.

By contrast, the U.S. economy is set to contract by 3.8% and the euro area by 7.9%.

The picture is even more dire for India, Argentina, the U.K., South Africa and Mexico, which are all forecast to collapse by more than 10%.



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Google unions around the world form Alpha Global alliance

“The problems at Alphabet—and created by Alphabet—are not limited to any one country, and must be addressed on a global level,” said Christy Hoffman, UNI’s General Secretary. “The movement launched by tech workers at Google and beyond is inspiring. They are using their collective muscle to not only transform their conditions of employment but also to address social issues caused by increasing concentration of corporate power.”

The announcement follows the creation of Alphabet Workers Union, a group affiliated with the Communications Workers of America. 

The newly-formed Alpha Global alliance will work together to increase pressure on Alphabet management. The group has promised to “build a common strategy,” for instance, create collective goals and support individual unions’ demands. It will speak as one to pressure other entities — governments, investors, stakeholders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) — who can ensure Alphabet is maintaining and consistently implementing workers’ rights. The alliance will also encourage other trade unions to come into the fold, thereby increasing its size and bargaining power. 

“Alphabet has long lost its commitment of ‘Don’t be evil,’ but we haven’t,” the statement published by UNI Global reads. “Together, we will hold Alphabet accountable. Together, we will change Alphabet.” 

According to The Verge, the alliance wants to tackle a bevy of issues including the treatment of content moderators and usage of nondisclosure agreements (NDAs).

Google has been accused of firing employees for their role in union organizing. The company said the workers were let go, however, over “clear and repeated violations” of data security policies. Before that, an employee claimed she was unfairly treated after organizing a mass walkout that protested how Google had handled sexual harassment cases. In recent months, the company has also been criticized for the departure of AI researcher Dr. Timnit Gebru.

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