October 21, 2020: The coronavirus crisis has hit the garment sector in the Asia-Pacific region hard, with plummeting retail sales in key export markets affecting workers and enterprises throughout supply chains, according to new research from the International Labour Organization (ILO ), a UN agency.
The supply chain ripple effect — 'How Covid-19 is affecting garment workers and factories in Asia and the Pacific' — assess the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on supply chains, factories and workers in 10 major garment-producing countries of the region: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
Worker layoffs and dismissals have increased sharply, while factories that have reopened are often operating at reduced workforce.
As of September 2020, it said almost half of all jobs in garment supply chains were dependent on demand for garments from consumers living in countries with the most stringent lockdown measures in place, where retail sales have plummeted.
The Asia-Pacific region employed an estimated 65 million garment sector workers in 2019, accounting for 75 percent of all garment workers worldwide, it added.
Speaking about the findings, Chihoko Asada Miyakawa, ILO regional director for Asia and the Pacific, said: “This research highlights the massive impact COVID-19 has had on the garment industry at every level. It is vital that governments, workers, employers and other industry stakeholders, work together to navigate these unprecedented conditions and help forge a more human-centered future for the industry.”
Throughout the surveyed countries, according to the Geneva-based UN agency, governments and industry associations have issued ILO supported guidance for minimizing the spread of COVID-19.
Although governments in the region have responded proactively to the crisis, the research reveals the closure of thousands of factories across the region either, either temporarily or indefinitely.