COVID-19 crisis had a disastrous effect on labour income: ILO

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) in its latest assessment has said that the devastating losses in working hours caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have brought a “massive” drop in labour income for workers around the world. 

Global labour income is estimated to have declined by 10.7 per cent, or US$ 3.5 trillion, in the first three quarters of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. This figure excludes income support provided through government measures. 

The biggest drop was in lower-middle income countries, where the labour income losses reached 15.1 per cent, with the Americas the hardest hit region at 12.1 per cent. 

Workers in developing nations had also seen their income drop more than 15 per cent, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder told journalists in Geneva.  

“On top of this, these are the places where there are the weakest social protection systems, so there are very few resources or protections for working people to fall back upon”, he said. “If you look at it regionally, the Americas were worst-affected, with losses of 12.1 per cent.”  

Ryder highlighted that while the Governments of richer countries had shored up their economies with hundreds of billions of dollars, poorer nations had been unable to do the same.  

Without such fiscal stimulus, working hours losses would have been 28 per cent between April and June, instead of 17.3 per cent, he insisted. 

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