Western giants are moving out of Russia one by one. In recent days, the likes of Netflix, Ikea, Apple, Spotify, H&M and Disney have all announced an immediate ceasing of business operations in Russia. Now the first staffing firm, Hays, has done the same thing. The company will close its offices in Moscow and St Petersburg with immediate effect.
‘Not a decision we have taken lightly’
For Hays, it is a decision that certainly wasn’t made overnight. “This is not a decision we have taken lightly as a business”, said Alistair Cox, Hays PLC CEO. “However, we cannot continue to maintain a presence in Russia, nor assist organisations there in any way, in light of the current situation.”
“We cannot continue to maintain a presence in Russia, nor assist organisations there in any way, in light of the current situation.”
As Hays, and many others, move out of Russia, it remains to be seen whether other companies in the staffing industry will do the same thing. Adecco Group, without any direct operations in Russia or Ukraine, recently published a statement wherein it said it will continue to monitor the situation. “The safety of people, of our employees and their families, is our absolute priority. […] We have many Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian colleagues and associates working with the Group.”
“The safety of people, of our employees and their families, is our absolute priority.
On the institutional front, the Group is said to be working closely with the World Employment Confederation (WEC) to support the Employment Industry Federations in the countries in the region. “We have pledged our support to the Directors of Global UN Agencies. Such as the IOM (International Organisation of Migration), the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) and the ILO (International Labor Organisation).”
WEC and ILO respond
The World Employment Confederation (WEC) also published a statement. “The employment and recruitment industry is focusing on how it can lend its support to people, in particular those displaced by the crisis. The WEC members in the region are putting in place all necessary measures to protect permanent staff and agency workers, working in solidarity and support with relevant partners on the ground.”
“The devastation of jobs, enterprises and livelihoods will be massive and endure for many years.”
The International Labour Organisation (ILO), meanwhile, calls the current situation in Ukraine one of the darkest chapters in ILO’s century long history. “It is a brutal repudiation of our organisation’s mission to promote peace through social justice”, said Guy Ryder, the ILO’s Director-General. “Those responsible for the aggression know full well that among its first victims will be working people and that the devastation of jobs, enterprises and livelihoods will be massive and endure for many years.”