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Towards Decent Work in Lebanon: Issues and Challenges in Light of the Syrian Refugee Crisis


About this resource

Resource type:Research, reports and studies
Keywords:Host Communities, Livelihoods, Protection, human rights & security, Refugees/IDPs
Agency:International Labour Organization
Author(s):Ajluni, S. and Kawar, M.
Date published:2015

This report focuses on both the quantity and quality of jobs in Lebanon in the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis. Its purpose is to bring attention to the fact that unemployment rates are only one part of the problem in Lebanon and that it is important to focus on decent work in tandem with the reduction of unemployment.

The basic premise is that major challenges in the Lebanese labour market include not only high unemployment rates but also poor working conditions, which are caused by increasing demand for a low-skilled work force. The outcome is a ‘downward spiral’ towards increasingly dire working conditions in low productivity sectors. While an absence of decent work is not new to Lebanon, the addition of hundreds of thousands of largely low-skilled Syrian workers is exacerbating an already fragile situation. Therefore, one of the reasons why the situation in Lebanon has not imploded with the unlimited supply of unskilled irregular Syrian workers is precisely because this is how the labour market is structured.

This report attempts to highlight labour market fragility and vulnerability. However, in the absence of regular statistics such as labour force surveys, it is based on existing data from national and international sources such as the World Bank, UNDESA and UNHCR. This is in addition to ILO surveys on Syrian and Palestinian refugees and child labour to assess specific labour market exclusions. An analysis of these secondary sources aims to provide an intermediate understanding of the situation until a fuller, regular labour force survey is available in Lebanon.

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