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Covid impact on work four times worse than 2008 economic crisis: ILO

GENEVA: The United Nations said on Monday that the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the world of work was four times worse than the 2008 economic crisis.

The UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) said the pandemic had had a “devastating” and even “cataclysmic” effect, as it sought to tackle an uneven recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

The ILO on Monday kicked off its annual International Labour Conference (ILC), being held virtually for the first time, and this year focused on fostering a “human-centred” recovery from the pandemic.

“The working experience of this pandemic for some has been of inconvenience, tedium, stress, and frustration. For others it has been about fear, poverty, and survival,” ILO director-general Guy Ryder said as he opened the conference plenary.

The crisis has pushed more than 100 million more workers into poverty, the ILO said in its annual World Employment and Social Outlook report ahead of the conference.

It said working hours plummeted and access to good-quality jobs had evaporated.

The report showed that global unemployment could affect 205m people in 2022 — far higher than the 187m in 2019.

Employment was not expected to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels until 2023 at the earliest, it said.

“Taken as a whole, this represents a world of work crisis four times as severe as the one triggered by the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009,” said Ryder.

Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2021

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