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Pandemic precarity: Covid-19, migrant workers, and state-labour relations in East and Southeast Asia
April 29, 2021 - 12:00-13:15
Creating jobs and providing decent employment is central to global development agendas. Indeed, Sustainable Development Goal 8 targets nothing less than decent work for all by 2030. Yet the precarisation of work is a defining feature of late capitalism, driven by the search for profit and economic growth and enabled by political regimes and the disorganisation of labour. Large parts of the global precariat reside in Asia, where their labour play a crucial role in regional and global production networks. The Covid-19 pandemic obviously had severe impacts on the lives and livelihoods on many of these workers, something that briefly got international attention through the hardships of the many Indian migrant workers who walked the long way home after lockdown was imposed in the country. Relatively little attention has been given to the situation of workers in East and Southeast Asia during the pandemic. How has the pandemic influenced their lives, and how do they cope during lockdown? And what kind of long-term impacts is the pandemic likely to have on state-labour relations and the prospects for decent work in the region? Focusing particularly on the cases of China and Cambodia, we invite leading experts to answer these questions.
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