July 8, 2020 / 10:42 AM / a month ago

HIGHLIGHTS-ILO summit on COVID-19 and the world of work

(Adds Canadian prime minister and World Bank official)

GENEVA, July 8 (Reuters) - World leaders spoke at a conference on Wednesday organised by the International Labour Organization on COVID-19 and the world of work.

Here are highlights:

GUY RYDER, INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION HEAD:

“The world of work ... has been plunged into unprecedented crisis.”

OECD SECRETARY-GENERAL ANGEL GURRIA ON ADJUSTING STATE AID:

“This means walking a tightrope between on the one hand failing to provide enough support to the many firms and workers still in need, and on the other excessively hindering the reallocation of resoucres required by the crisis itself. This is going to requre a lot of navigational skills.”

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL:

“We must prevent the coronavirus from producing another crisis. The pandemic has led us...to a very painful situation and has led us to the conclusion that we must work together internationally.”

UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTONIO GUTERRES:

“It’s not a choice between health or jobs and the economy. They are interlinked: We will either win on all fronts or fail on all fronts.”

ANTONIO COSTA, PRIME MINISTER OF PORTUGAL:

“Whether the countries are in the north or the south, whether they are richer or poorer, we either come out of this all together or we all die together.”

“We have to do this so we have a strong, joint response from the EU all together.”

SPAIN’S PRIME MINISTER PEDRO SANCHEZ:

“Countries are not alone. The crisis has made this ever more clear. We can support one another and unity saves employment.”

IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA:

“Looking ahead, policies should lay the foundation for a low-carbon, resilient recovery that would create millions of jobs while helping address the climate crisis.”

WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION DIRECTOR-GENERAL ROBERTO AZEVEDO:

“Keeping markets open to trade will play an important role to foster our recovery. In the short run, raising trade barriers would threaten access to food and medical supplies.”

SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT MOON JAE-IN:

“The COVID-19 pandemic struck the world like a massive earthquake and just like a tsunami that comes in its aftermath, ‘employment shock’ has already hit upon us.”

SANGITA REDDY, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERATION OF INDIAN CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY:

“It is time for us to swing into action to make sure there is no loss of life due to starvation.”

REINER HOFFMAN, GERMAN TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION HEAD:

“The consequences of the last 20 or 30 years, the hard work to fight abject poverty, is now being undermined.”

PAKISTAN PRIME MINISTER IMRAN KHAN:

“It’s very important that all of us here have some sort of combined strategy to deal with this vulnerable sector of society: labour.”

SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA:

“We have an immense task before us: to rebuild our shattered lives and economies ... The long-term impact of the pandemic on Africa will be quite severe.” ​

JOSAIA VOREQE BAINIMARAMA, PRIME MINISTER OF FIJI:

“Tourism has come to a halt. Many jobs have still not come back and many never will ... You cannot work from home when you work as a scuba instructor.”

CANADA PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU:

“The pandemic has also shone a light on how much we rely on global supply chains to access food, personal protective equipment and other essential goods and services.

“That’s why, at the international stage, we need to continue to work together to address all the economic and human impacts of COVID-19, and advance solutions for a sustainable recovery.”

MARI PANGESTU, WORLD BANK MANAGING DIRECTOR FOR DEVELOPMENT POLICY AND PARTNERSHIPS:

“It is the first time in over two decades that global extreme poverty will increase. And the impacts are very broad. The crisis has revealed the extreme vulnerability of those in informal employment, who are the majority of workers in developing countries, many of them women. Without regular hours or income, and with little or no access to social protection, and no options to work from home, many informal workers are struggling to feed their families and access essential services.” (Reporting by Reuters bureaux; Editing by John Stonestreet, Edmund Blair, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Cynthia Osterman)

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