International Labor Organization: 90 million new jobs needed

Published by rudy Date posted on March 27, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – Nearly 90 million jobs are needed to absorb the new entrants in the labor market and cut short the ongoing global financial and job crisis, the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported yesterday.

In a report titled the “Financial and Economic Crisis: A Decent Work Response,” the ILO said close to 90 million new jobs are needed up to 2010 to avoid a prolonged jobs gap.

ILO Director-General Juan Somavia said governments also need to implement a “global jobs pact” to prevent the severe job crisis that could lead to a massive increase in unemployment and poverty.

“If stimulus efforts are delayed, the jobs crisis will be prolonged and employment may only start to recover by 2011,” Somavia said.

In earlier financial crises, Somavia said the labor market recovered only 4 to 5 years after the economic recovery.

At this time, Somavia said, the international coordination to tackle the crisis is weak.

A study by the ILO among 32 member countries showed that stimulus plans stand on average at 1.7 percent.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) earlier called for stimulus plans in the order of 2 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) in response to the crisis.

The ILO survey also found that the stimulus packages lean heavily toward financial bailouts and tax cuts instead of job creation and social protection and noted that on average, fiscal stimulus packages for the real economy are five times smaller than financial bailout packages.

“Only half of the countries examined have announced labor market initiatives and among those, the resources allocated to these measures are relatively limited,” said Raymond Torres, Director of the ILO’s Institute of Labor Studies.

The report also said that infrastructure programs do not adequately take into account the need to reinforce the existing capacity of businesses and skills supply – so that part of the infrastructure spending may result in higher prices, rather than higher production and jobs; some tax cuts will end in higher savings rather than higher demand, output and jobs; and little is done to help youth and other vulnerable groups.

Jobs in Lebanon

Meantime, thousands of jobs await Filipino professionals in Lebanon.

A group of Lebanese nationals yesterday said their country is in need of Filipino workers to fill the vacancies in the hotel, construction and other sectors.

Kader Al Jadid, Filipino-Lebanese Friendship community president, called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to allow the deployment of other types of workers to Lebanon.

“Thousands of waiters, carpenters, technicians and other highly skilled workers are needed in Lebanon with the projected surge of foreign tourists,” Al Jadid said.

Al Jadid said Lebanese companies prefer Filipino workers because of their fluency in English and renowned brand of service and hospitality.

“DOLE should not let this opportunity pass for thousands of OFWs affected by the global economic slump,” he said.

But Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said the Philippine government will not resume the deployment of workers to Lebanon until the Lebanese government complies with the new hiring policy.

Roque said the Philippine government already submitted to the government of Lebanon the proposed policy that would ensure the protection of Filipino workers.

“We already submitted our proposal and if they are willing to comply with our conditions, we will resume deployment, but until then the ban stays,” he said.

Among others, Roque said the DOLE is demanding compliance with the $400 minimum monthly salary for Filipino household workers.

Al Jadid, however, urged DOLE to allow the deployment of professional workers while awaiting the approval on the hiring of household workers.

A majority of the Filipino workers currently employed in Lebanon are household workers.

DOLE imposed the deployment ban to Lebanon in 2006 after war erupted between Israeli and Hezbollah forces. Thousands of OFWs were repatriated but many opted to sneak back to Lebanon despite the ban.–Mayen Jaymalin, Philippine Star

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