The global pandemic Covid-19 has thrown the whole world into complete chaos. Amid this perilous situation, one of the worst-hit factions of the society is the workers who depend on hourly wages. As the outbreak keeps spreading like wildfire throughout the world, so does the unemployment rate of hourly waged workers!
In such a difficult time few thought leaders of the industry have realised the real challenge beyond getting infected with the virus and have come forward to help such people. And, world’s top billionaire Jeff Bezos is one among them.
Over the weekend the Chief Executive Officer of the global e-commerce giant Amazon Jeff Bezos, in a memo, addressed the mass number of newly unemployed workers. He also spoke about the steps being taken by Amazon as a response to the outbreak.
In his memo that was posted to the company website, Bezos revealed that right now he’s only focusing on the pandemic and the part his company Amazon can play in the betterment of this situation. He also mentioned that Amazon has decided to raise the wages of its hourly workers who are still dutifully managing the warehouses to fulfil our current orders along with spotlighting that Amazon is looking forward to hiring for 100,000 new roles in the US.
It has been observed by Amazon that their orders have been multiplying really fast with the growing number of quarantines and shelter-in-places, thus proving that local businesses such as hotels to bars, retail shops, and restaurants are not being relied upon at this hour of need. Bezos wrote in the memo that they (Amazon) are hoping that people who have currently been laid off will come to work them until things normalize and they can return to their jobs. He also mentioned that he predicts things are going to get worse before they get better.
Lastly, the frontman of Amazon wrote that “There is no instruction manual for how to feel at a time like this” after admitting that his long list of personal worries includes the safety and well being of everyone starting from his children and family to all the employees of Amazon. He also empathized with everyone who has gotten infected with the virus and fallen sick along with the harm that this outbreak is causing to the global economy.
This memo was published after Amazon was demanded to offer increased wages and better protection for their warehouse workers during this outbreak by four US senators which include Bernie Sanders. Apart from this, earlier this month Amazon workers had also sent a petition to the company urging for ‘protective measures’ to be implemented for themselves along with a paid leave.
Surging Unemployment Rates Amid The Outbreak
A few days ago, a new report by the UN agency International Labour Organization highlighted how a whopping 25 million people around the world could lose their jobs due to the outbreak. Now, as the pandemic has started gaining significant momentum across the whole world, it seems like we are not too far off from turning that prediction into reality.
In the United States, the number of people filing for unemployment benefits jumped by 70,000 last week. Between March 8 and 14, over 281,000 people across the country filed for unemployment benefits, according to numbers released by the US Labour Department on Thursday.
In the Indian context, while it is not completely clear how many people in total might have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 outbreak, but it has been reported that the central government is planning to give unemployment benefits to a section of organised workers via the Atal Beema Vyakti Kalyan Yojana (ABVKY) because of the same. This will be along the lines of measures taken by the United States to combat the impact of the pandemic.