22 April, 2020Brands and retailers are being called on to endorse priorities for action to support the garment industry and protect workers from the impacts of the global crisis.
As retailers have closed shops around the world, garment factories have shut down at an alarming rate with devastating impacts for millions of garment workers. Urgent action is needed to protect their livelihoods during the shutdown and beyond.
The statement of priorities and commitments, COVID-19: Action in the Global Garment Industry reflects a broad consensus on joint action to protect garment workers’ income, health and employment and help manufacturers survive the economic disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as to improve social protection for garment workers for the long term.
It has so far been endorsed by a number of leading brands including Adidas, C&A, H&M, Inditex, Primark, Bestseller, PVH, Tchibo, VF Corporation, and Zalando, as well as IndustriALL and ITUC. The document will enable the ILO to work with the industry on securing funds and developing social protection.
Organizations that endorse the statement commit to working with governments and financial institutions to mobilize sufficient funding to enable manufacturers to ensure business continuity including payment of wages, as well as income-support and job-retention schemes to address the impact of the crisis.
IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches says:
“These principles are the essential first step towards mobilizing the funds needed to maintain the livelihoods of garment workers through this crisis and beyond. Concrete action is now needed by the industry to protect supply chains and the workers they depend on.
“We will continue to demand that brand and retailers contribute to securing their own supply chains and ensuring better social protection for garment workers.”
An international working group will be established within the next two weeks convened by the ILO and including brands and manufacturers, unions and governments, to further elaborate the implementation steps necessary to deliver on these commitments.