Half the world’s workforce face having their livelihoods destroyed as a result of coronavirus, UN warns – The Sun
HALF the world's work force are in immediate danger of losing their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, a UN agency warned.
The International Labour Organisation's (ILO) latest report sharply raised its forecast for the devastating impact on jobs and incomes of the Covid-19.
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Coronavirus has infected more than 3.1 million people globally, killed nearly 220,000, shut down economies, and left the world on lockdown.
ILO director-general Guy Ryder said:"It shows I think in the starkest possible terms that the jobs employment crisis and all of its consequences is deepening by comparison with our estimates of 3 weeks ago.
He said he foresaw a "massive" impact as workers face being pushed into poverty worldwide.
Wages of the world's 2 billion informal workers plunged by an estimated global average of 60% in the first month that the crisis unfolded, the ILO said.
Informal workers are the most vulnerable of the 3.3 billion global workforce, lacking welfare protection, access to good healthcare, or the means to work from home.
Mr Ryder said:"For 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.
"These are the real faces of the world of work. If we dont help them now, they will simply perish."
The ILO said lockdowns and office and factory closures are now expected to lead to an "even" worse fall in total working hours worldwide in the second quarter than what was forecast just three weeks ago.
Worst-hit sectors are manufacturing, accommodation and food services, wholesale and retail trade, and real estate and business activities.
Total working hours in the second quarter are expected to be 10.5 per cent lower, equivalent to 305 million full-time jobs, than the last quarter before the pandemic.
The ILO said the biggest declines are forecast for the Americas, Europe and Central Asia.
The previous ILO estimate on April 7 was that disruptions would wipe out labour equivalent to the effort of 195 million workers, or 6.7 per cent of hours clocked worldwide.
About 436 million enterprises – businesses or self-employed – face "high risks" of disruption, the agency added.
The long-term outcome was unclear as the world continues to weather the storm of the coronavirus.
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The agency said: "The eventual increase in global unemployment over 2020 will depend substantially on how the world economy fares in the second half of the year and how effectively policy measures will preserve existing jobs and boost labour demand once the recovery phase begins."
Governments are splurging unprecedented amounts of cash to try and keep companies afloat and jobs open during the crisis.
The ILO urged them to speed procedures for unemployment benefits, extend support to independent workers, and fast-track small and informal businesses' access to credit and loans.
Mr Ryder said: "As the pandemic and the jobs crisis evolve, the need to protect the most vulnerable becomes even more urgent."
Estimates have put the potential impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the global economy at $4trillion at a low estimate.
Britain is getting a £350billion bailout from the government amid the crisis – with Chancellor Rishi Sunak promising loans and cuts in the business rates for companies.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK is now approaching the second phase of the pandemic, with questions now being asked about how to raise the lockdown.
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