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Report

Wages, social security, migration & healthcare are key concerns in garment supply chains amid COVID-19 crisis, says AFWA

"The Emperor Has No Clothes: Garment Supply Chain in the Time of Pandemic", 9 April 2020

... This report... look[s] at the major ways in which... [COVID-19 pandemic has] played out... in four major textile and apparel production countries in Asia... viz. wage disbursal, social security, migration and healthcare...

In a system that puts profits over people, wages are the first to be cut, and social security for the working poor decimated. Public healthcare is grossly underfunded and inadequate. Migrant workers suffer among the most vulnerable, underpaid and excluded sections of the workforce...

[A]dopting progressive taxation policies, wealth redistribution, massive stimulus packages aimed at safeguarding livelihoods as well as employment opportunities, extensively revamping the public healthcare system and protecting the freedom to associate is the way forward for government action...

[I]nter-brand competition in the fast fashion industry has pushed down wages with little to no protection for the working class in developing countries...  It is an ethical as well as economic responsibility of the brands to step in and devise mechanisms to safeguard those who produce their profits from such unforeseen vulnerabilities. A major step forward in this direction would be to encourage collective bargaining through unionisation as well as strengthen the solidarity within the labour movement.