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20 Apr 2020

Hassan Naqvi, Pakistan Today

Pakistan: 1 million garment workers set to lose jobs due to declining global orders amid COVID-19 pandemic

“Over 1 million textile workers set to lose jobs amid Covid-19 fallout”, 18 April 2020

More than 1 million textile workers are set to lose jobs in Pakistan … amid the coronavirus crisis, according to … [t]he recent study … conducted by Mazdoor Akath (Labour Collective).

… Mazdoor Akath stated that while ordering a lockdown, the Sindh government … asked … employers to pay workers for the next three months. However … the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan (Sindh)…  said, “businesses are run for profits and it is the fundamental right of the employer to decide … to hire and fire ...”

… [E]mployers proposed that workers should be paid from the workers welfare fund for the labourers of the province and the Sindh Employees Social Security Institution and not from their own profits.

According to the [National Trade Union Federation] report… [a]lmost 75 percent of workers … in the textile … industry are in the informal sector of global value chains. “There is huge discrimination [against] female workers … 93 percent are receiving less than minimum wage,” the study said.

…[T] sudden lockdown left contractors and workers in limbo in terms of wages … The study stated that they are also threatening workers not to contact activists …

The study stated that there were no promises for wages for the next month or rehiring…

… [T]he danger for workers extends into the future … workers who retain their jobs might be required to work at less than normal wages for next few months …

… [W]hen industry resumes, it might only hire a fraction of the workforce with lower wages and security, with particular effect on women ... They maintained that there will be … [even more] compromises on safety …