AMSTERDAM – Unions have warned that the global garment industry faces an existential threat amid the COVID-10 crisis. With retailers closing shops globally, garment factories are shutting down at an alarming rate with devastating impacts for garment workers. Global union, IndustriALL, has now written to all its affiliates that organise garment workers, asking for information on the numbers of factories that are being closed down, the number of workers affected, and any measures being taken by governments and employers to mitigate the impacts.
Said an IndustriALL statement: “The picture that is emerging is devastating. Social distancing measures taken in countries currently most affected by COVID-19 are driving wholesale closure of thousands of garment factories with millions of workers being laid off without a social safety net. As the virus spreads within the garment-producing countries themselves, more factories will be forced to close, putting potentially millions more workers out of work.
“While garment retailers are shutting up shop in affected countries, garment workers are expected to pay the price for the clothes they have already made.”