COVID pandemic much worse than 2008 financial crisis, ILO chief

The head of the International Labour Organization during the International Labour Conference described the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world of work as “cataclysmic” as and much worse than that of the 2008 financial crisis.

The United Nations says the impact of COVID-19 on jobs is four times worse than the 2008 economic crisis.

“Corona epidemic has had a devastating effect on jobs and work.”

The ILO's International Labour Conference kicked off on Monday and is being held online for the first time.

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said the experience of working during the epidemic had been a source of hardship, fatigue, stress and frustration for some, but for others, it was a matter of fear, poverty and survival.

According to the ILO's annual World Employment and Social Outlook Report, the epidemic has pushed 100 million workers worldwide below the poverty line. 

The report says the epidemic has reduced working hours along with access to good jobs.

According to the report, global unemployment could affect more than 200 million people in 2022, up from 180 million in 2019.

Jobs are not expected to return to pre-epidemic levels before 2023, the report said. "If you look at all of these effects as a whole, they are four times more severe than the 2008 and 2009 economic crises," Ryder said.

The head of the ILO said that just as the health system was not fully prepared to deal with the epidemic, so was the employment sector not ready for the crisis.

"Massive inequalities in vaccine distribution and various financial issues, including unequal digital connectivity, will create more problems for jobs."

The ILO was established in 1919 and now has 187 member countries. The organization's annual conference was not held last year due to the Corona epidemic.

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