Report (9): Violations of Workers’ Rights During COVID19 in Middle East and the Role of the UN
Shadow Report (9): Violations of Workers’ Rights During COVID19 in Middle East and the Role of the UN
Before the COVID19 pandemic broke out, research indicated that e-working could increase employees’ job satisfaction, enhance their commitment to the organization, and even slightly improve their performance. Telework, it was suggested, can also reduce the stress and tension of work, possibly due to a reduced need for transportation or more flexible hours and other benefits include lower transportation costs and more freedom to work independently.
While the impact and efficiency of remote work is being analyzed, after it has become one of the effective measures to combat the spread of the spreading COVID-19, there is an increasing talk about the possibility of this work style continuing to become permanent in some professions, after overcoming the pandemic. Many companies around the world have turned to the remote work system with the aim of resuming even partial activities, especially in the sectors where this system is suitable for implementation.
The pandemic caused a disparate disruption to global economies, due to government measures that consisted of disrupting economic sectors and closing borders, prompting companies to search for alternatives to continuing activity, without the possibility of spreading the infection. Fatih Uysal, general manager
of the Turkish website (Kariyer.net) which specializes in publishing employment advertisements, said that the digitization of business and the spread of remote work method will enable employees to perform their jobs independently and more flexibly.
According to a new report of the International Labor Organization, it is expected that the world witnessed a reduction in jobs for about 200 million full-time employees only during COVID-19. A warning comes about three weeks after the organization expected that 25 million jobs would be threatened by COVID-19, especially after the imposition of complete or partial closures in many countries, and the impact that this had on about 2.7 billion workers, or 4 out of every 5 of the workforce in the world.
Although all regions in the world are suffering from the crisis caused by the virus, Arab countries and Europe have witnessed the worst effect in the field of employment in relative terms. The largest losses in terms of numbers are concentrated in the countries of Asia and the Pacific, which are the most populated regions in the world .Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labor Organization, said in statements from Geneva that at the beginning of the year, before the spread of COVID-19 in the world, 190 million people joined the ranks of unemployment .He added that with the shock caused by the virus, it is “clearly visible” that the world of employment is suffering “from an absolutely extraordinary decline due to the impact of the pandemic and the measures taken to deal with it .
Workers in four sectors are the most affected by the disease and the decline in production: the food and hotel sector (144 million workers), the wholesale and retail sector (582 million), the business and administration services sector (157 million), and the manufacturing sector (463 million). The Director of the Labor Organization notes that all these sectors account for 37.5%
of global employment, and workers in these sectors now feel more than others the severity of the impact of the pandemic on them. 136 million people around the world work in the health sector and social professions, and they are on the front lines of the war on COVID-19. Ryder stressed that the biggest threat facing this sector is infection with the virus. He said, “we have to ensure that these workers are protected and provide them with appropriate preventive tools.” Overall, when assessing the second quarter of 2020 (April to June) the organization believes that a 6.7% decrease in working hours is likely.
The report of the International Labor Organization stated that regardless of place of residence in the world and the employment sector, the crisis is having dramatic effects on the workforce worldwide. It also explained that the emerging pandemic crisis is expected to lead to the abolition of 6.7 percent of the total working hours in the world in the second half of 2020, equivalent to 195 million full-time jobs, including 5 million in the Arab world. The report called for formulating policies when responding to the pandemic, focusing on providing immediate assistance to companies and workers to protect their livelihoods, including vital work in the economic sector, especially in the most affected sectors and developing countries.
The report reviewed other concerns related to low- to-middle-income countries, noting that the most affected services and factories include a high proportion of low-wage workers in informal employment, with limited access to health services, safety nets and welfare provided by the government. “Without appropriate policies, workers face the risk of falling into poverty and will face greater challenges in returning to their jobs during the recovery period,” the report noted.
About two billion people work in informal jobs, most of them in developing countries, and tens of millions of workers work in informal jobs have been affected by COVID-19. In cities, employees work in sectors that expose them to the risk of transmission, and are also directly affected by the closure measures, such as street vendors, food service workers, construction and transportation workers, and domestic workers. The organization’s report specifically sheds light on India, where about 400 million people work in informal jobs. They face the risk of slipping into poverty, and lockdown measures force many of them to return to rural areas. In the Arab world, which hosts millions of foreign workers, the situation for workers seemed near slavery during COVID19.
To read full report, click here.