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G20 ministers seek to shore up labor markets

China Daily | Updated: 2020-04-25 17:57


RIYADH/BEIJING-Labor and employment ministers from the G20 group of nations pledged on Thursday to prop up labor markets as the coronavirus pandemic hits jobs and output around the world.

"We cannot allow COVID-19 to widen inequalities, including gender inequalities, in the labor market and erode progress made thus far," the ministers said after a virtual meeting hosted by the group's current president Saudi Arabia.

"Our countries will continue to explore ways to support businesses and employers, especially micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, to be able to maintain employment and support affected workers through this challenging period.

"Measures will be developed in accordance with national circumstances and may include cash transfers, tax credits, grants, loans, and wage subsidies."

While the disease appears to be peaking in some countries, other nations are still in the early stages of the fight that has killed more than 180,000 people and infected 2.6 million worldwide.

During the meeting, the ministers shared information on their policies to stabilize the labor markets and discussed the methods used to cushion the impact of the pandemic on the domestic and global labor markets.

Zhang Ji'nan, the Chinese minister of human resources and social security, said in Beijing that G20 members should work together to stabilize global labor markets.

Zhang introduced China's all-out efforts in stabilizing employment while paying special attention to COVID-19 prevention and control during the online meeting of the G20 ministers.

He called for joint efforts from all G20 members to implement the consensus reached at the Extraordinary G20 Leaders' Summit and uphold the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind to improve communication and coordination.

The International Labor Organization on Tuesday warned that the economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis are having a "devastating effect" on workers and employers, with "massive losses" of jobs and output across all sectors.

"The world of work is facing the worst global crisis since World War II," said Alette van Leur, the ILO's sectoral policies director. "The economic impact of the pandemic is likely to be severe and sustained."

Agencies - Xinhua

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