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The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on workers around the world

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the coronavirus pandemic has affected about 2.7 billion workers. This accounts for 81% of the total number of workers in the world.

There are 1.25 billion workers that are working in sectors heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic and at a high risk of losing their jobs. The ILO considers this to be the most serious job crisis since World War II.

Many workers are at a high risk of losing their jobs

According to the ILO, due to the influence of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of working hours for workers is reduced worldwide by about 6.7%, of which the highest in the Arab region (8.1%), followed by Europe (7.8%), Asia-Pacific (7.2%), America (6.3%), some countries in Europe and Central Asia (6.0%) and lowest in Africa (4.9%).

Among the economic sectors affected by the coronavirus pandemic, professions related to wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, accommodation and catering services, real estate, joint venture, and administrative activities were most affected. Meanwhile, some occupations with state patronage such as education, health care, and agriculture are less affected.

Informal workers facing the risk of falling into poverty

Since coronavirus is affecting the economy, it is estimated that about 2 billion informal (freelance) workers have been unemployed, most of whom are in emerging and developing economies. These workers often find it difficult to access health care services and social security, and at the same time, face high risks of infection and the risk of being affected by blockade measures.

Informal workers facing the risk of falling into poverty

In India, where nearly 90% of the total workforce is informal workers, with about 400 million people working face the risk of falling into poverty.

The temporary solutions

To minimize the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on industries and workers, the ILO recommends that countries develop policies and solutions based on four principles. First, stimulate the economy and employment. Second, support for business, employment, and income. Third, protection of workers at work. And finally, propose solutions through social dialogue.

The ILO recommends that countries focus on providing support to the most affected groups of workers and occupations, including freelance workers, and promoting community initiatives. They should support formal workers and businesses to ensure they do not fall into the informal sector due to the crisis. Besides, they need to ensure that public resources are allocated in a strategic and targeted manner.

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