2020-03-18 ILO – ‘Swift policy action, strong leadership save jobs, ‘avert the worst’ amid covid-19 pandemic’

‘Through training, study and protection, we aim to bridge the gaps between the international
decisions and recommendations, and the realities in the field through implementation

COVID-19 Main recent public statements from Geneva-based officials and bodies.

(UNNews – 18 March 2020)

As dire forecasts about the global economy add to the anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN’s labour agency (ILO) on Thursday offered a range of urgent measures, which, if governments act quickly, can help to protect workers in the workplace, stimulate the economy and save millions of jobs.

Noting that the economic and labour crisis created by the pandemic could greatly increase worldwide unemployment, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said that an internationally-coordinated policy response – as happened in the 2008 financial crisis – could significantly lower the impact on global unemployment.

 “This is no longer only a global health crisis, it is also a major labour market and economic crisis that is having a huge impact on people”, said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “In 2008, the world presented a united front to address the consequences of the global financial crisis, and the worst was averted. We need that kind of leadership and resolve now”.

ILO’s new report, ‘COVID-19 and the world of work: Impacts and responses’, calls for urgent, large-scale measures across three pillars: protecting workers in the workplace; stimulating the economy and employment; and supporting jobs and incomes – each to include measures to extend social protections and support employment retention and financial and tax relief.

“In times of crisis like the current one, we have two key tools that can help mitigate the damage and restore public confidence”, said the ILO chief. 

He called the first, for social dialogue and to engage with workers, employers and their representatives, “vital for building public trust and support for the measures that we need to overcome this crisis”. 

According to Mr. Ryder, the second tool, for international labour standards, provides a “tried-and-trusted foundation” for policy responses that focus on a recovery that is sustainable and equitable. 

Worldbank/Abbas Farzami Construction workers do road work in Kabul, Afghanistan.