The COVID 19 pandemic has drastically changed the labor market, jeopardized the survival of entire industries and endangered many jobs around the world, which reminds us of the importance of the principle of non-discrimination and balance between measures for protection of public health and respect for human rights, said Commissioner for Protection of Equality Brankica Jankovic on the occasion of International Labor Day.
Commissioner points out that this year’s Labor Day is an opportunity to express our gratitude to the workers who bore the brunt of the COVID 19 pandemic – above all to all employees in health and social protection, utilities, trade and delivery, without whom the fight against the pandemic would not be possible. The pandemic confirmed the importance of the link between preserving health and the economy, the simultaneous struggle for life and the struggle to maintain jobs and wages, the immeasurable need for solidarity of all – young and old, men and women, employers and workers, service providers and users, rich and poor.
Janković emphasizes that the rights to decent work and equality must be respected, especially in the current situation when there are other problems in achieving equality on the labor market, due to the transition to work in the digital environment. Commissioner notes that the digital divide between those who have digital skills and conditions for online business and those who don’t should be continuously reduced, because otherwise less skilled workers, those belonging to older generations or other vulnerable social groups, will be pushed to margins of labor market over time and enter the risk of poverty and discrimination.
Commissioner notes that the measures taken so far to preserve jobs have been significant in terms of mitigating the negative consequences of the pandemic, emphasizing that the focus of measures and activities that are being created should be focused on the needs of the most vulnerable and severely affected categories of workers and unemployed. In addition to providing various types of support, it is necessary to amend the existing regulations on work, safety and health at work, and to regulate work from home and equal exercise of employment rights for persons who are not in permanent employment more precisely.