Coronavirus in Europe: one million job losses in two weeks is tip of the iceberg

By Sandor Zsiros

At least one million people have lost their jobs during the past two weeks in Europe according to the latest data from the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).

The startling figure comes from reports submitted by trade unions across Europe, and only includes contract workers who have applied for unemployment benefits.

“What we are experiencing at the moment, especially in the last week, is that the number of companies disappearing from the market is increasing dramatically,” explains Luca Visentini, ETUC Secretary General. “Thousands and thousands of small and medium enterprises that have been locked down will not be able to come back to the market because they are dying. And on the other side we are witnessing at least one million workers that became unemployed across the different European countries because of the lack of short time work arrangements or sick pay.”

The true number – including those without contracts and freelancers could be far higher.

“Can you imagine what is going to happen after Easter if this situation is not fixed by some emergency measures?” asks Vicentini, “The risk is that it will be triplicate, quadruplicate.”

Last week the International Labour Organisation reported that potential job losses worldwide could amount to 36 million.

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