ILO annual gathering of labour ministers postponed for a year

GENEVA (Reuters) - An annual gathering of the world’s labour ministers will not take place this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but will convene in June 2021, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Monday.

In a statement, the United Nations agency said that its governing body had decided to defer the event for its 187 member states, scheduled for May 25-June 5 2020, because of “severe worldwide travel restrictions due to the pandemic, and the need to ensure the health and well-being of delegates and staff”.

On Tuesday the Geneva-based ILO will issue its latest estimate of the number of people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, which it forecast at 25 million on March 18.

Sangheon Lee, director of the ILO’s employment policy department, told Reuters a week later that the scale of temporary unemployment, layoffs and the number of unemployment benefit claims were far higher than first expected.

In the United States alone, nearly 10 million Americans have now filed jobless claims as the coronavirus shuts down retailers, restaurants and other businesses deemed “non-essential” across the country.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Larry King