The International Labor Organization (ILO) has launched another COVID-19 monitor report on global labour which raised fears and concerns over the informal sector being the most affected. .
The 3rd report since the outbreak of coronavirus, dubbed ILO Monitor on the labour impact of COVID-19 was released Wednesday during an online global press conference held at the ILO head offices in Geneva, Switzerland.
The report follows the second one published on April 7, which indicated estimations of the impact of Covid-19 on jobs impact, with a 6.7% drop in global working-hours shows that over 195 million full-time jobs have been lost.
“COVID-19 has exposed the frailties and inequalities of our societies. We must build a better normal that supports the most vulnerable first,” Guy Ryder, ILO Director General said on Wednesday.
He said that the third report has come with new and increased estimates in the drop of working hours from a 6.7% earlier prediction to reach 10.5% in the second financial quarter (Q2) of this year, equivalent to 305 million full-time jobs.
ILO said that the situation has worsened for all major regions, with the Americas taking the biggest hit. For instance Q2 estimates suggest a 12.4 per cent loss of working hours in the Americas, and 11.8 per cent for Europe and Central Asia. All other regions are above 9.5 per cent.
Informal sector income losses
ILO finds it important to focus and know what is going on in the informal sector because 6 of 10 working people globally are in this sector, and many families depend on this sector.
“What we find in this report is that of the two billion informal workers of the world, about 1.6 have suffered massive damage to the ability to earn a living and support themselves because of the current Covid-19 crisis,” Ryder stated.
ILO stated that globally informal sector had an estimated average loss of income at 60% and concretely, the hardest hit regions were Africa and Americas, with an average drop of incomes at 80% and 70% in Europe and 21.6% in Central Asia.
At the same time, ILO said that 436 million enterprises operating in wholesale and retail, manufacturing, accommodation, and other economic sectors that have been hardest hit, face “high risks of serious disruption”.
Ryder said as the pandemic and the jobs crisis evolve, the need to protect the world’s most vulnerable workers becomes even more urgent with millions of workers, no income means no food, no security and no future.
“Millions of businesses around the world are barely breathing. They have no savings or access to credit”, he said, “These are the real faces of the world of work. If we don’t help them now, they will simply perish.”
Sustainable Way out
The ILO is calling for “urgent, targeted and flexible measures” to support both workers and business, particularly smaller enterprises and those in the informal economy.
“Measures for economic reactivation should follow a job-rich approach, backed by stronger employment policies and institutions, better-resourced and comprehensive social protection systems”, the agency has recommended in a statement.
The ILO also stressed that international co-ordination on stimulus packages and debt relief measures will be critical to making recovery effective and sustainable.