The economic impacts of COVID have been especially hard for the world's poorest. Factory workers globally have faced lay-offs, cuts in wages and hours and confusion about safety protocols and laws.
A recent paper by Cornell and the International Labor Organization (ILO), provides some of the first data on impact of the pandemic on garment workers thus far;
"The typical worker lost out on at least two to four weeks of work with only three in five workers being called back to the factory. Among those still employed in the second quarter of 2020, declines in earnings and delays in wage payments were also common."
The paper also found that, women have been disproportionality affected by the crisis. In Asia and the Pacific, the garment industry is the largest employer of women. The challenges faced by factory in workers in general, combined with child care closures and increased gender-based violence has put women at greater risk than ever, and threatens to reverse "previous gains achieved towards closing some gender gaps."
Governments' constantly shifting COVID policies and economic relief packages have caused additional confusion and anxiety amongst employers and workers. In most countries, it is still unclear if the government economic support will be sufficient.
The paper calls for stakeholders throughout the supply chain to step up their efforts and to work to develop a more resilient and sustainable post-COVID-19 future for the garment industry.
Labor Solutions partnered with Better Work and several other organizations to develop and release atun, a free mobile app designed to support factory workers impacted by COVID. Consider supporting atun today.