Nearly half of the world’s workforce risk losing their livelihoods because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has warned.
The ILO says that with the global economy at a near standstill, workers in the informal economy face losing their income without access to social security protection.
It estimates that 1.6 billion people are in “severe danger” of losing between 60 and 80 per cent of their income. Many of those most under threat work in service sector industries, typically in companies of under ten employees.
“The informal economy is the place where in fact six out of ten workers in the world make their living,“ ILO director-general Guy Ryder told Euronews Now. “And they make their living beyond the reach of labour legislation and beyond the coverage of social protection.”
The ILO believes that in the second quarter of this year, reductions in working hours will represent the equivalent of 305 million jobs being lost.
Ryder said a reversal in the trend is only likely to happen when countries are able to emerge out of the lockdowns introduced because of the pandemic.
“When these lockdowns begin to be lifted, when people start getting back to work, then I think we could expect some fairly quick improvements in these dramatic figures,” he said.