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Philippines: Workers face dismissal as demand from global apparel brands & retailers falls and factories struggle to repurpose for PPE production

“Hanging by a threat: PH garment industry takes on PPE-making, metes out retrenchments”, 21 October 2020

The Philippine garment industry right now reflects the state of the global garment industry which had been ripped at the seams by the COVID-19 pandemic.

… Total exports in apparel for January to July 2020, however, plummeted by 40% at over $337,000...

… [T]hree member-companies [of CONWEP] have went into repurposing…

But repurposing requires more investments…

Retrenchments had already taken place in multiple garment exporters…

... Around 4,400 workers from MEPZ were also laid off because of the pandemic ... Notices had apparently been issued to the affected employees on Sept. 4 by Sports City International companies like Global Wear Manufacturing, Metro Wear Inc., Feeder Apparel Corp., Vertex One Apparel Philippines, Inc., and Mactan Apparels Inc.

Dennis Derige, Cebu coordinator of labor group Partido Manggagawa, told INQUIRER.net that the retrenchments were likely due to the weak orders coming in from international buyers like Adidas, Under Armour, Saucony and Lululemon, among others.

… [M]any … were shocked when they were retrenched. Although some of the garment companies claimed they issued notices to workers, there were workers who alleged that they were not served 30-day notices.

He also wondered why retrenchment had to be the immediate solution … when they can still save on labor costs through … flexible or alternative work arrangements.

… Derige said that employers in general could use the health crisis as an opportunity to take advantage of its workers. Others, also, could use the pandemic for union-busting activities.


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