CIOs Addressing the Impact of Covid-19: Young Workers, Informal Economy Workers, Migrants and Women are the Most Vulnerable

CIO webinar covid

Brussels (IYCW News) - KAB Deutschland in collaboration with JOC Europe, the European Christian Workers Movement (ECWM) and other faith-based workers’ organizations, held a virtual webinar, a discussion based on the ILO Addendum to the 2020 General Survey on promoting employment and decent work in a changing landscape, on May 27, 2021.

ECWM President Olinda Marques opened the session, saying that together we do better and can reflect on the very important question of promoting employment and decent work in a changing landscape.

IYCW President Sarah Prenger made a comment on the ILO addendum. She emphasized the enormous impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on young workers and jobs.

"The pandemic is affecting young people in different ways: disrupted education; difficulty in finding work and re-entering the labor market; reduced earnings; and deteriorating conditions of work. Precarious jobs are on the rise,” said Sarah. To meet the challenges, Sarah placed the accent on the need to strengthen social protection, health care and education, and to ensure infrastructure improvement. "Care" activities also need to be recognized as work with legal status, wages and protection.

Another speaker, Santiago Fischer, CNE member and representative of We Social Movement (WSM), explained the impact of the pandemic on the informal economy in many countries. Santiago deems it necessary to accelerate the transition from informal to formal economy.

“It is urgent to accelerate the transition from informal to formal economy, as indicated in ILO Recommendation 204. This is the key to increasing people's resilience in the face of the multiple crises yet to come,” said Santiago.

On another focus, WMCW General Secretary Mariléa Damasio explained the poor conditions of informal workers in different continents.

"African workers have no choice, therefore have to adapt to low-quality jobs, without security, with insufficient wages and without social protection. It also happens in Latin America and Asia. Covid-19 has worsened the conditions of informal workers who have no other source of income, and it increases the risk of contagion,” said Mariléa.

"For this reason, social protection systems need to evolve, with a policy based on rights, sensitive to differences, universal, redistributive and based on solidarity," Mariléa asserted.

Commenting on this topic, Nicola Piper, Professor of International Migration at Queen Mary University of London, researcher of the ABI, Freiburg, argued that the twin crisis of Covid-19 and climate change amplifies issues of concern in relation to the drivers of migration and its outcomes.

According to her, in the case of covid, existing discriminatory dynamics that are deeply engrained in the global labor supply system have been exposed, and new gender-biased and migration status related outcomes created.

Closing the webinar, H.E. Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN and Other International Organizations in Geneva, advised to continue spreading the good news in the world of work. He highlighted the impact of Covid-19 on the world of work, including reduced jobs, working hours and income, the jeopardies of businesses and supply chains in the informal and formal economy.

Archbishop Jurkovič affirmed the mission of the Church to serve and care for the common good. No one should be left aside in the dialogue to build peace for all.

"Looking ahead, it is essential for the church to support actions to correct unfair conditions that affect employment relationship and violate workers' rights," said Archbishop Jurkovič.

Commenting to the webinar, Hildegard Hagemann, Kolping International, expressed that the webinar was an important preparation for the 109th session of the ILC. Not only because it underlined the continuous engagement of the CIOs for decent work and social justice especially in time of crises, but also because it raised awareness about the extraordinary role of the ILO for the recovery and resilience of societies and economies.

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