1st of May is celebrated World Labour Day. This day is celebrated to recognize and appreciate the efforts of the labour union movement and acknowledge the economic and social achievements of workers across the globe.
However, the reality of workers’ condition in India isn’t a cause for celebration.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has declared the Covid-19 crisis, the “worst global crisis since the Second World War.” This pandemic is going to cause severe economic pain and the workers, especially the vulnerable daily wage earners, will have to bear the brunt of it.
A United Nations Labour Body report said that the working hours have reduced by 4.5% in the first quarter of 2020. It is expected to decline further by 10.5% and this would be equal to 305 million full time jobs!
This figure is 56% higher than what ILO had predicted earlier which was at 195 million jobs. This clearly indicates the extent to which the labour force is going to suffer.
The ILO report also showed that the worst among the workers who will be hit are the 1.6 billion people in the informal sector. They do not have regular income, pensions or set working hours or even decent working conditions.
90% of India’s workforce is engaged in the informal sector and their earnings are going to adversely be impacted by approximately 60%.
India and other lower middle income countries are anticipating this. The lower middle income country is identified on the bases of its per capita income of a little over $2000 dollars.
All the loss in wages and earnings will increase the rate of relative poverty. This is defined as the proportion of workers with monthly earnings that fall below 50% of the median earnings in the population — in countries like India by 56%.