According to data from the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), at least one million people have lost their jobs in the last two weeks, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
They arrived at these figures following the analysis of reports submitted by trade unions from across the bloc. The figure only accounts for contract workers who have applied for unemployment benefits.
“What we are experiencing at the moment, especially in the last week, is that the number of companies disappearing from the market is increasing dramatically,” said Luca Visentini, ETUC Secretary General. “Thousands and thousands of small and medium enterprises that have been locked down will not be able to come back to the market because they are dying. And on the other side we are witnessing at least one million workers that became unemployed across the different European countries because of the lack of short time work arrangements or sick pay.”
In addition to this, the International Labour Organisation has predicted that some 25 million workers could find themselves unemployed, globally.
“Based on different scenarios for the impact of COVID-19 on global GDP growth, the ILO estimates indicate a rise in global unemployment of between 5.3 million (“low” scenario) and 24.7 million (“high” scenario) from a base level of 188 million in 2019. By comparison, the 2008-9 global financial crisis increased global unemployment by 22 million,” they said
The ILO puts the loss of collective income at a total of between USD 860 billion and USD 3.4 trillion by the end of 2020.
They have predicted that many more will be pushed into poverty and they have called for urgent, large-scale measures to prevent the crisis from deepening
These measures include extending social protection, supporting employment retention, financial and tax relief, paid leave, and additional fiscal, lending, and financial support for specific sectors.
“In times of crisis like the current one, we have two key tools that can help mitigate the damage and restore public confidence. Firstly, social dialogue, engaging with workers and employers and their representatives, is vital for building public trust and support for the measures that we need to overcome this crisis. Secondly, international labour standards provide a tried-and-trusted foundation for policy responses that focus on a recovery that is sustainable and equitable. Everything needs to be done to minimize the damage to people at this difficult time,” said Guy Rider, the ILO’s Director-General.