December 2, 2020

BERLIN (Reuters) – Monthly wages fell or stagnated in many countries in the first six months of 2020, with the pandemic hitting lower-paid workers and women hardest, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Wednesday.

    The crisis is “likely to inflict massive downward pressure on wages in the near future”, the U.N. agency said in a report.

While wages fell or grew more slowly in two-thirds of countries for which data was available, in the remaining third, a rise in wages was largely due to many lower-paid workers losing their jobs, skewing the average higher.

Without subsidies such as coronavirus furlough schemes, women would have lost 8.1% of their wages in the second quarter, compared with 5.4% for men, according to a sample of 28 European countries, the ILO report showed.

Those in lower-skilled jobs lost more working hours than higher-paying managerial and professional jobs, it said.

“The growth in inequality created by the COVID-19 crisis threatens a legacy of poverty and social and economic instability that would be devastating,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Alison Williams)

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