The ILO in its latest brief, “The impact of the Ukraine crisis on the world of work: Initial assessments” said that employment losses would increase to seven million if hostilities escalate. However, if the fighting was to cease immediately a rapid recovery would be possible, with the return of 3.4 million jobs. This would reduce employment losses to 8.9 per cent.
DISRUPTION OF ECONOMY
Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, on February 24, more than 5.23 million refugees have fled to neighbouring countries. The refugees comprise mainly women, children, and persons over the age of 60. Of the total refugee population, approximately 2.75 million are of working age. Of these, 43.5 per cent, or 1.2 million, were previously working and have lost or left their jobs.
In response to this disruption, the Government of Ukraine has made considerable efforts to keep the national social protection system operational by guaranteeing the payment of benefits, including to internally displaced persons, through the utilization of digital technologies.
REGIONAL AND GLOBAL CRISIS
Apart from creating internal employment chaos, the crisis in Ukraine will also create labour disruption in neighbouring countries, mainly Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. If the hostilities continue, Ukrainian refugees would be forced to remain in exile longer, putting further pressure on the labour market and social protection systems in these neighbouring states and increasing unemployment in many of them, the ILO said in the brief.
Moreover, economic and employment disruption affecting Russia will also have significant ripple effects on Central Asia, especially 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 for migrants in the Russian Federation, and many of these migrants send a significant share of remittances back to their home countries.
“If the hostilities and the 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 severe economic losses in Central Asia as a whole,” the ILO said.
The UN organisation also said that the fallout from the Ukraine crisis may worsen labour market conditions and reverse some of the gains made even in high-income countries. The situation is particularly hard in low- and middle-income countries, many of which have been unable to fully recover from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
- Facilitate the initiatives of employers’ and workers’ organizations so 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 foster inclusive economic, social and political development.
- Provide targeted employment support in the comparatively safe areas of Ukraine, including by building on the continuing government-sponsored programme to relocate workers and enterprises. ILO-supported Local Employment Partnerships (LEPs) can help create job opportunities.
- Support the social protection system in Ukraine to ensure that it continues to pay benefits, including newly-established cash transfers, to (past and new) beneficiaries.
- Prepare for a post-conflict reconstruction strategy that encourages the creation of decent and productive jobs through employment-intensive investment.