The lockdown imposed during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has devastated the blue-collar worker sector. About 70% to 80% of blue-collar workers, according to the staffing industries in the past months, have been left out without income. While many of us work from home, the men in blue are still strutting around in their boots making sure that industries and organizations keep running smoothly.
The pandemic's after effects, combined with downsizing markets, have negatively affected the blue-collar workforce. Due to this, a large number of blue-collar workers, specializing in certain industries, have been dispersed across various sectors. As soon as the lockdown began, many of them had to leave and return to their native lands. Blue-collar workers are in a difficult situation. Not only have they lost their insignificant income, but they also have no choice except to contract Covid-19 or starve. So, holding their minimal things, babies on their shoulders, and no meals in their bellies, many of them began to walk hundreds, if not thousands, of kilometers to return to their villages. While some workers continue to work, Organizations are making them work on a much-reduced capacity. That is, instead of being employed for six days a week as before, they are now working for three or four days per week, and that too based on the business requirement. In contrast to permanent employees in industries, blue-collar workers can be hired and removed more easily. Their low skill level coupled with the availability of extra labor to companies further reduces their bargaining power.
The impact of the lockdown and the resultant downsizing efforts have been felt harder by the contractual workforce in the factories and plants. “As the lockdown is relaxed, other, more complex obstacles will emerge. It's been a constant struggle for blue-collar workers who have been without a job since the lockdown began," said Chakraborty, co-founder of a major recruitment firm. ‘The rural-to-urban migration is probably at one of its lowest ebbs’, say labor ministry officials. According to the Economic Times, ‘There has been a near-10% decline in blue-collar workforce moving to cities for jobs. This is enough to choke the labor supply lines to major industries.’
Blue-collar employees have been paid next to nothing since they are mainly paid by the hour. In the wake of business closures, drivers, delivery workers, sales personnel, and retail floor executives have received pink slips. With pandemic situations as a pretext, different state governments are eroding what little protection employees have by repealing or weakening numerous laws, in favor of employer organizations. In an effort to attract capital, at least 14 labor legislation implementations in Uttar Pradesh have been reduced to 3 years, including the Minimum Wages Act and the Industrial Disputes Act. Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are in similar circumstances.
The second wave of Covid-19 will probably affect blue-collar workers even further. According to a survey, the second wave of the pandemic in the country is expected to have a short-term setback, mostly hitting blue-collar jobs, particularly in the sales, manufacturing, retail, hospitality, e-commerce, household workers, and construction industries. As India's growth attempted to find its ground early this year, the demand for labor increased by 32% from January to March 2021 related to the previous months pointing to an economic transformation in the nation, according to Michael Page. Blue-collar workers continue to work with their employers to reach productivity and economic requirements, even when faced with pandemic obstacles.
“When the first lockdown was imposed last year, many people went back to their villages. In a short span of time, they got jobs closer to their homes,” says DPS Negi, chief labor commissioner (central), Ministry of Labor & Employment. “Many do not want to head back to the cities due to fears around Covid. They are also not very sure of the job situation in cities. So, there is an 8-9% drop in the number of migrant workers heading back to cities for jobs,” he adds. With the gradual easing of Covid-19-related restrictions and an increase in movement, over 50 percent jump in demand for blue-collar workers is likely in the second half of this year across four major industrialized states Maharashtra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka, according to a report. The current scenario is that the market has a lot of demand, but the workforce is much smaller than it was before the recession. Other than the demand for delivery staff, the need for health care services has given rise to the supply chain- and logistics-related jobs, researchers, pharmacists, manufacturing workers, and other related roles, observed human resource analysts. With people staying home because of state lockdowns, there has been a 25 percent rise in demand for delivery staff, health care, and other such high-growth industries. Few companies have begun to upskill blue-collar workers by providing digital training programs in order to meet the norms. The assumption was always that blue-collar workers would be unable to learn successfully through technology. All of these preconceptions have been destroyed by Covid-19. Blue-collar workers have quickly acclimated to their new normal situation.
Job Booster acts as the bridge between blue-collar workers and employers or training institutes that help workers live dignified lives. We source, screen, groom, and guide candidates to find jobs that match their skills and needs. Fueled by testimonials of grateful candidates and employers, we proudly continue to help blue-collar workers recover from the effects of the pandemic on their careers.