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Global unrest over unemployment warned

Julia Kollewe

Already reported in 25 countries: ILO

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has warned of growing social unrest because it fears global employment will not now recover until 2015.

This is two years later than its earlier estimate that the labour market would rebound to pre-crisis levels by 2013.

About 22 million new jobs are needed — 14 million in rich countries and eight million in developing nations.

The United Nations work agency on Friday warned of a long “labour market recession” and noted that social unrest related to the crisis had already been reported in at least 25 countries, including some recovering emerging economies.

Crisis-hit Spain faced its first general strike in eight years this week as unions protested against the government's austerity measures and labour reforms.

The strike on Wednesday coincided with protests in Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Slovenia and Lithuania, as well as demonstrations in Brussels by tens of thousands of workers from across Europe as part of a European day of action against public spending cuts.

“Fairness must be the compass guiding us out of the crisis,” said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. “People can understand and accept difficult choices, if they perceive that all share in the burden of pain. Governments should not have to choose between the demands of financial markets and the needs of their citizens. Financial and social stability must come together. Otherwise, not only the global economy but also social cohesion will be at risk.” Raymond Torres, lead author of the ILO's annual World of Work report, published Friday, warned governments against withdrawing fiscal stimulus measures while the economic recovery was still weak.

Mr. Torres said there were two main reasons for the bleaker outlook facing many countries: “The first is that fiscal stimulus measures that were critical in averting a deeper crisis and helped jump-start the economy are now being withdrawn in countries where recovery, if any, is still too weak,” he said. “The second, and more fundamental factor is that the root causes of the crisis have not been properly tackled.” — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2010

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