ILO chief says pandemic's impact on work is "cataclysmic"

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FILE PHOTO: Director-General of the ILO Ryder attends the 108th ILO International Labour Conference in Geneva

GENEVA (Reuters) -The head of the International Labour Organization on Monday described the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world of work as "cataclysmic" and much worse than that of the 2008 financial crisis.

Speaking at the opening of the ILO's two-week ministerial conference, director-general Guy Ryder also warned of an uneven economic recovery after the pandemic, partly fed by inequities in vaccine distribution.

"The impact has been devastating, cataclysmic," he said. "Taken as a whole this represents a world of work crisis four times as severe as the one triggered by the financial crisis of 2008-2009."

The United Nations agency last week said that at least 220 million people were expected to remain unemployed globally this year and that pandemic-linked job losses would not be made up until at least 2023.

"As we increasingly look to the recovery process with some economies growing quickly, very quickly and jobs now being created at great speed, I think we need to be conscious about just how uneven recovery will be if continues on its current trajectory," Ryder said.

(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Angus MacSwan)

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