Solidarity between employers and workers is the need of the hour as all businesses are facing serious challenges like large decline in revenue and insolvencies because of the deadly coronavirus, said a senior official of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
"Sustaining business operations will be particularly difficult for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs)," said Tuomo Poutiainen, country director of the ILO.
Following travel bans, border closures and quarantine measures, many workers cannot move to their places of work or carry out their jobs, which has knock-on effects on incomes, particularly for informal and casually employed workers.
"Now is the time for solidarity between employers and workers. It is through working together and finding common solutions that all industries and the economy as a whole can rebuild," Poutiainen said, adding that dialogue, open communications and common understanding on how to move forward are important.
Clearly, health is the most pressing need, but forward-thinking measures will also be needed on how to keep the economy and workplaces running, he said, while speaking about the ILO's latest report on reduction of global working hours.
The coronavirus crisis is expected to wipe out 6.7 per cent of working hours globally in the second quarter of 2020, which is equivalent to 195 million full-time workers, the ILO said.
Large reductions are foreseen in the Arab States (8.1 per cent), Europe, (7.8 per cent) and Asia and the Pacific (7.2 per cent).