The International Labour Organisation (ILO), in its report, said the economic and labour crisis created by the Corona Virus, COVID-19, the pandemic could increase global unemployment by almost 25 million. ILO, however, noted that if an internationally coordinated policy response is put in place, as happened in the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, then the impact on global unemployment could be significantly much lower. The labour organisation in a preliminary report titled “COVID-19 and the World of Work: Impacts and Responses, called for urgent, large-scale and coordinated measures across three pillars: Protecting workers in the workplace, Stimulating the economy and employment, Supporting jobs and incomes These measures include extending social protection, supporting employment retention, and financial and tax relief, including for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, the report mentioned. Based on different scenarios for the impact of coronavirus on global GDP growth, the ILO estimates indicate a rise in global unemployment of between 5.3 million (“low” scenario) and 24.7 million (“high” scenario) from a base level of 188 million in 2019.
By comparison, the 2008-2009 global financial crisis increased global unemployment by 22 million, according to the report. The report also mentions an increase in underemployment as the economic consequences of the virus outbreak may translate into reductions in working hours and wages. “This is no longer only a global health crisis, it is also a major labour market and economic crisis that is having a huge impact on people. In 2008, the world presented a united front to address the consequences of the global financial crisis, and the worst was averted. We need that kind of leadership and resolve now. This is no longer only a global health crisis, it is also a major labour market and economic crisis that is having a huge impact on people,” said ILO’s Director-General Guy Ryder. Swift, coordinated policy responses: The way forward
ILO’s report emphasised on social dialogue, engaging with workers and employers and their representatives, is crucial for building public trust and support for the measures that the organisations need to overcome this crisis situation. Also, the report said that the labour standards provide a tried-and-trusted foundation for policy responses that focus on a recovery that is sustainable and equitable. Every step needs to be taken to minimize the damage to people at this difficult time.