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Monday, 27 June 2022

Asian garment factories face numerous challenges as industry evolves: ILO

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The International Labour Organization (ILO) has said that Asia remains the garment factory of the world, yet the sector faces an array of challenges many of which have been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reviewing employment, wages and labour productivity in the Asian garment sector over the 2010-2019 period, a report of ILO highlights how the industry still accounts for 55 per cent of global textiles and clothing exports and employs some 60 million workers.

The report, titled Employment, wages and productivity in the Asian garment sector: Taking stock of recent trends, says that challenges such as rising labour costs, production and process automation, ‘reshoring’ and ‘nearshoring’, as well as increased pressure to transition towards a more sustainable business model, with improved wages and working conditions are creating an uncertain future for the industry and workers alike. The situation has been exacerbated by the impact of Covid-19.

David Williams, Manager of ILO’s Decent Work in Garment Supply Chains Asia programme, says “While in many countries the sector has seen growth in both wages and productivity, the relationship is not always clear and simple, as Government policies and external forces can play a big part in shaping outcomes for workers and businesses.”

The report highlights how the sector’s evolution is following different trajectories across the region. While economic diversification and upgrading have reduced its importance in countries like China, Thailand and the Philippines, it remains the key economic driver in nations like Cambodia and Bangladesh.

The report highlights that despite the high share of wage and salaried employment and the dominance of larger firms in most countries, a significant proportion of the sector’s workers also remain highly vulnerable, due to widespread informality and the temporary nature of their working arrangements.

It also underlines that gender pay gaps persist across the Asian garment sector. Female employees are over-represented amongst the sector’s low pay workers, and countries with the lowest shares of female workers also have the highest gender pay gaps in the garment sector.

Data in the report does reveal a positive association between growth in labour productivity and wages in the sector, suggesting that investments in labour productivity may play an important role in helping elevate worker pay.

“The industry’s future success will depend on mutually reinforcing investments. “Backed up by genuine support for social dialogue and collective bargaining and concrete incentives from brands, the industry can create a virtuous cycle in which higher wages drive higher productivity, and viceversa,” says Williams.

Source : https://in.apparelresources.com/