Wednesday 10/28/20
REPORT

UN: World's workers lost a tenth of their income during pandemic

Workers in developing and emerging countries are more affected by the pandemic than richer countries because they have fewer opportunities to work remotely and because the informal labour sector has taken a hard hit.
22 September 2020, Spain, Outeiro de Rei: A worker of the US aluminium maker company Alcoa takes part in a protest at the A-6 highway near of the village of Outeiro de Rei as they ask their company to sell its plant in A Marina to GFG Alliance Group. Photo: Carlos Castro/dpa.
A worker of the US aluminium maker company Alcoa takes part in a protest at the A-6 highway in Spain. Photo: Carlos Castro/dpa.

Global labour income dropped by 10.7% in the first three quarters compared to the same period last year as the pandemic led to a sharp reduction of working hours, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Wednesday.

The wage loss, which does not factor in income support by governments, amounts to 3.5 trillion dollars, the UN agency reported in Geneva.

The ILO said that the loss in global working hours in the second quarter was bigger than expected, compared to pre-crisis levels in the fourth quarter of last year.

The drop was 17.3%, equivalent to 495 million full-time jobs. The ILO had previously estimated a loss of 14%, or 400 million jobs.

The UN body also issued a significantly gloomier outlook for the final three months of this year.

The global working hour loss in the fourth quarter is now expected to amount to 8.6%, up from the previous forecast of 4.9%.

Emerging economies

The numbers were revised because it has become clear that "workers in developing and emerging economies, especially those in informal employment, have been affected to a much greater extent than in past crises," the ILO said in a report.

Workers in those countries are more affected by the pandemic than richer countries because they have fewer opportunities to work online from home and because the informal labour sector has taken a hard hit, the ILO said.

In addition, governments in poorer countries have less money to counter the Covid-19 crisis.

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