The International Labour Organisation (ILO) which is a United Nations’ agency presented a report today where it said it fears 270 crore workers across the globe are going to face serious issues, and what is more alarming is the 40 crore of those are from India.
Those 40 crore workers from India are working in the informal economy will be affected due to the lockdown implemented across the country as a measure to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus.
The Novel Coronavirus which has been declared a pandemic is affecting billions of people across the globe and in countries like Brazil, India, and Nigeria where the sheer number of workers in the informal economy have been affected due to the lockdown and the other measures taken up by the governments of the respective countries.
In India, almost 90% of the people working in the informal economy which is roughly 400 million of 40 crore people are at risk of falling deeper into poverty as the government takes strict measures to contain the spread of novel Coronavirus.
The ILO said that as per the current lockdown measures in India, which are at the high-end of the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 Government Response Stringency Index, have affected these workers at large and have even forced many to return to their hometowns/ homevillages.
The reports stated that low and middle-income countries in particular with the hard-hit sectors have a high proportion of workers in the informal employment and also the workers have very limited access to health services and social protection. Also, without proper policy and measures, the workers face a risk of falling deeper into poverty and will face a greater challenge in regaining their livelihoods owing to the recovery period.
The ILO also notes that COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated its intensity and expanded its reach globally. The full or partial lockdowns implemented by several nations have impacted around 2.7 billion workers or 270 crore which represents close to 81% of the global workforce.
Employment contraction has already begun on a large scale probably an unprecedented scale in many countries around the globe. And with the absence of data, changes in working hours, which reflects both layoffs and the other reduction in working hours put in place temporarily, gives a better picture of the dire reality of the current labor market situation.
Using this approach, as of the 1st of April, the ILO’s new global estimates indicate that the working hours will decline by as much as 6.7% in the 2nd quarter of 2020, which will be equivalent to 196 million 19.5 crore full-time workers.
The hardest hit sectors will see the majority of job losses and the decline in working hours. The ILO estimates that the sectors which are currently showing the major decline in output will have a high risk of workplace displacement. The organisation estimates that on those sectors around 1.25 billion or 125 crore worker (around 38% of the global workforce) may be hit the hardest by the pandemic.
The key sectors highlighted by ILO include retail trade, food services, accommodation, and manufacturing. The closure of workplaces has also rapidly increased in the recent weeks which have been because nearly 81% of the global workforce lives in countries where partial or complete lockdowns have been implemented.
The employment in the countries with recommended or mandatory closures of the workplace represents 87% of the workforce of the upper-middle-income countries and 70% of the workforce in high-income countries.
Coronavirus is leaving no country unharmed, however, the developing countries are the most vulnerable given their resources and capacities are severely constrained.