German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a wreath laying ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of W…Read More
From Kenya to Argentina, untold millions who were already struggling to get by on the economic margins have had their lives made even harder by pandemic lockdowns, layoffs and the loss of a chance to earn from a hard day’s work.
More than four out of five people in the global labour force of 3.3 billion have been hit by full or partial workplace closures, according to the International Labour Organisation, which says 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy “stand in immediate danger of having their livelihoods destroyed.”
The toll for families is hunger and poverty that are either newfound or even more grinding than before. Hunkering down at home to ride out the crisis isn’t an option for many, because securing the next meal means hustling to find a way to sell, clean, drive or otherwise work, despite the risk.
Canada has shed three million jobs, bringing its rate up to 13.1%, and this follows a warning earlier in the week from Brussels that Europe has plunged into a massive recession. In France, about half the private-sector workforce is on a government paid-leave programme whereby they receive up to 84% of their net salary. In Germany, 3 million workers are supported in a similar system, with the government paying up to 60% of their net pay.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who marked the anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, drew a parallel between the war and the new scourge that has already killed more than 2,70,000 people around the world. “For us Germans, ‘never again’ means ‘never again alone’,” Steinmeier said at a Berlin ceremony. “If we don’t hold Europe together, including during and after this pandemic, then we are not living up to May 8. We want more, not less cooperation in the world — also in the fight against the pandemic.”