Effective Crisis Response Strategies of Government and Businesses: Social Aspect

This was the title of the annual Social Forum organized by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) as part of the Russian Business Week.

News | 17 June 2020
The first online session of the forum entitled “Labour Market: Lessons Learned of the Crisis and Post Crisis Development” held on June 17 was focused on the labour market situation and its improvement prospects, policies of the authorities and businesses to preserve jobs, impact of the current situation on employment, and adaptation of the labour law to widespread new forms of employment relations.

In opening the session, Alexander Shokhin, RSPP President, noted that the Russian economy is suffering from serious implications of the crisis brought about by COVID-19. The government is undertaking massive interventions to support the individuals and businesses – both systemically important ones and SME. “Today we are not only adapting to a new environment but also aiming to embark on the trajectory of  growth, with the issues of employment relations being a priority”, Alexander Shokhin underlined.

In his presentation Anton Kotyakov, Minister of Labour and Social Protection, specially stressed a need in coordinating the efforts of the government, employers and workers. “Our priority is to ensure a rapid recovery of the labour market”, he said.

Mikhail Shmakov, Chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR), devoted a large part of his presentation to new working arrangements. A considerable number of workers – up to 80 percent in the education sphere – are now working remotely. As working from home spreads out, the concerns over a lack of its legal regulation emerge. Moreover, the crisis boosted the incidence of non-protected forms of employment. “Changes to the social sphere should be effected only through social dialogue”, Mikhail Shmakov said.

Yaroslav Nilov, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Labour, Social Policy and Veterans’ Affairs, discussed in detail the legal aspects of the response to COVID-19 pandemic.

“The labour sphere went through a crash test unseen since the Second World War,” said Olga Koulaeva, Director of the Moscow Office of the International Labour Organizations (ILO). She gave an assessment of the work hour losses in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. Measured at 10.7 percent, they equal the full working time of 305 million of workers under a 48-hour working week.

Young people are in an especially difficult situation in the labour market, with the ILO observing today the emergence of a “lockdown generation”.

As Olga Koulaeva pointed out, there is a need to search for comprehensive solutions with reliance on the ILO developed strategy based on four main pillars: stimulating the economy and employment; supporting companies, employment and incomes; protecting workers at workplaces; searching for solutions through social dialogue and social partnership.

“Our goal is to return back to normal in a hope to make it a better normal than before the crisis”, she said.

The ILO Office Director invited the forum participants to attend a virtual ILO Global Summit on COVID-19 and the World of Work to take place on July 1 – 9 this year.