Making news

ILO ready to help Vietnam weather COVID-19-triggered labour crisis

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Vietnam stands ready to support the Vietnamese government, employers and employees in the fight for decent work at the time of the global health, labour and economic crisis, said ILO Vietnam Director Chang-Hee Lee.

Vietnam has been doing a good job in containing the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), Lee said.

The country’s determination to combat the pandemic has been very clear since Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc reiterated that the government will accept economic losses in exchange for people’s lives and health, he said.

The pandemic might be far from over and this is the right time to start making moves to buffer negative impacts on businesses, employment and income of the majority of labourers, including those in the informal sector, the director noted.

The economic and labour crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic could increase global unemployment by almost 25 million, according to a new assessment released by the ILO on March 18.

However, if a coordinated policy response is launched internationally, as happened in the 2008 – 2009 global financial crisis, then the impact on global unemployment could be significantly lower.

The preliminary assessment note – “COVID-19 and the world of work: Impacts and responses” – calls for urgent, large-scale and coordinated measures across three pillars: protecting workers in the workplace, stimulating the economy and employment, and supporting jobs and incomes.

These measures include extending social protection, supporting employment retention (for example, short-time work, paid leave, other subsidies), and financial and tax relief, including for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

In addition, the note proposes fiscal and monetary policy measures, and lending and financial support for specific economic sectors.

The ILO warned that certain groups will be disproportionately affected by the jobs crisis, which could increase inequality. These include people in less protected and low-paid jobs, such as youth, older workers, women and migrants. The migrants are vulnerable due to the lack of social protection and rights, and women tend to be over-represented in low-paid jobs and affected sectors./.