Nearly 5 million jobs have been lost in Ukraine since the start of Russian aggression: ILO


According to an ILO study, Effects of the crisis in Ukraine on the world of work: first assessments, if hostilities were to intensify, the number of jobs lost would rise to seven million. However, if the fighting ceased immediately, a rapid recovery would be possible, with 3.4 million jobs recovered, reducing job losses to 8.9%.

Keep the social protection system operational

Ukraine’s economy has been severely affected by Russian aggression, according to the ILO.

Since the outbreak of hostilities on February 24, more than 5.23 million refugees have fled to neighboring countries. The refugees are mainly women, children and people over the age of 60.

Of the total refugee population, approximately 2.75 million are of working age. Among them, 43.5%, or 1.2 million, were working before losing or having to leave their job.

In response to this upheaval, the Ukrainian government has made significant efforts to keep the national social protection system operational by ensuring the payment of benefits, including to internally displaced persons, through the use of digital technologies. .

A regional crisis with global reach

The crisis in Ukraine also risks creating disruption in neighboring countries, mainly in Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. If hostilities continue, Ukrainian refugees would be forced to stay in exile longer, putting additional pressure on the labor market and social welfare systems of these neighboring states and increasing unemployment in many of them.

The major economic and employment disruptions affecting the Russian Federation have far-reaching implications for Central Asia, particularly for countries whose economies depend on remittances from the Russian Federation, such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

These four states are among the top ten countries of origin of migrants in the Russian Federation, and many of these migrants send a significant portion of their earnings back to their countries of origin. If the fighting and sanctions against the Russian Federation lead to job losses for migrant workers in the Russian Federation and these migrant workers return to their countries of origin, there will be serious economic losses overall of Central Asia.

The aggression in Ukraine has also created a shock for the global economy, further complicating recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. This is likely to affect employment and real wage growth and put additional pressure on social protection systems.

In many high-income countries, which have recently seen signs of a stronger labor market recovery, the fallout from the Ukraine crisis could worsen labor market conditions and reverse some of the gains made. The situation is particularly difficult in low- and middle-income countries, many of which have not been able to fully recover from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

Immediate actions

In March, the ILO Governing Body adopted a resolution calling on the Russian Federation to “immediately and unconditionally cease its aggression” against Ukraine.

He expressed deep concern over reports of civilian casualties and attacks on civilian facilities, as well as the severe consequences for workers and employers who risk their lives to continue working.

To mitigate the impact of the crisis on the Ukrainian labor market, the ILO recommends several immediate measures, including:

  • Facilitate the initiatives of employers’ and workers’ organizations so that they can play an important role in providing humanitarian support and ensuring the continuation of work, where possible. The individual and collective efforts of the social partners can contribute positively to cohesion and promote inclusive economic, social and political development.
  • Provide targeted employment support in relatively safe areas of Ukraine, including building on the ongoing government-sponsored program to relocate workers and businesses. Local Employment Partnerships (LEPs) supported by the ILO can help create employment opportunities.
  • Support the social protection system in Ukraine to ensure that it continues to provide benefits, including newly established cash transfers, to (old and new) beneficiaries.
  • Prepare a post-conflict reconstruction strategy that encourages the creation of decent and productive jobs through employment-intensive investments.
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