Short & long-term impacts of COVID-19 on garment supply chain workers should be mitigated by the big brands, says AFWA report

Author: Asia Floor Wage Alliance, Published on: 29 May 2020

“The emperor has no clothes: Garment supply chains in the time of pandemic -Issue: II”, May 2020

The [“Emperor Has No Clothes (Issue 2)”] report provides a follow-through on [initial state responses in major garment-producing countries in Asia and linked labour abuses]…, lay[ing] emphasis on…wage payment, support mechanisms and layoffs of garment workers, specifically in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Most importantly, the report presents a typology of discriminatory practices in the labour market that account for the immediate impact of the pandemic on garment workers in terms of access to employment.

The pandemic has triggered an unprecedented crisis in global garment supply chains [and]…exposed fault-lines of opaque production systems that seek out vulnerable segments of the population as workforce. Factors like employment status, spatial proximity, age, gender, union membership and religion have been used to discriminate against workers. The pandemic has also highlighted the inability of the State to respond to the pandemic and its collateral effects, in terms of ensuring access to decent healthcare and food security.

[The Asian Floor Wage Alliance] demands…the impact of COVID-19 on livelihoods be partially mitigated in the short-term by a one-time Supply-chain Relief Contribution, wherein brands pay an additional 2% of their past annual sourcing that is passed on through brands to suppliers and becomes payable directly to each worker. In the medium to long term, brands should step forward and commit to a fair price or a premium that ensures payment of a living wage and social security, and safeguard freedom of association.

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