ILO calls on governments to mitigate effects of coronavirus on labour

SABC News Mine workers - ILO calls on governments to mitigate effects of coronavirus on labour

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has called on governments around the world to act urgently to overcome the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on employment. In its latest assessment of the effects of the pandemic on the world of work, the ILO has found that there has been a massive drop in income for workers around the world.

According to the ILO, workplace closures have resulted in a big drop in labour income, especially in lower-middle-income countries. It estimates that a total of 3.5 trillion US dollars has been lost by the global workforce thus far.

Workers in Latin America are the worst affected, with Africa doing better than expected.

“The prophets of doom that had predicted that COVID-19 would wreak incredible havoc on Africans and African economies and that we’d probably literally have dead bodies on the streets everywhere has not come to fruition. Africa has shown itself to be resilient. Africans have shown themselves to be resilient in the face of this disease,” says Africa Director of the ILO, Joni Musabayana

While stringent lockdowns have been relaxed in many countries, 32% of the global workforce is in countries where there are still closures of all workplaces except essential services. Against this background, the ILO says support measures for jobs, businesses, and incomes must be sustained.

It has praised South Africa’s UIF TERS benefit scheme as a good example of what is required.

UIF has been paying out money to those unemployed since April: 

“The UIF is really a very good example of how many other African countries can ameliorate the impact of a crisis such as COVID on workers, and to this regard, the disbursement by the UIF to more than 9 million workers have managed to limit the impact of COVID of what would have been a catastrophic scale.”

The ILO has called on world governments to come up with a global economic recovery plan as a matter of urgency.

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