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The Unequal Impacts of Covid-19 on Global Garment Supply Chains

Published: June 21, 2021

This report documents deteriorating living and working conditions for workers in garment supply chains, including a surge in vulnerability to forced labour, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

We find that garment workers’ labour and living conditions have severely worsened during the pandemic and workers are experiencing severe economic hardship and labour abuse. Across all four of our case study countries, workers have experienced sharp declines in earnings and working conditions, including increased vulnerability to key indicators of forced labour. These dynamics are evident for workers who have remained in the same jobs with no change in their employment status, as well for those who have had their contracts terminated amidst the pandemic and found new jobs; which have often involved worse working conditions and lower pay compared to their pre-pandemic employment. These patterns varied across case study country; individual level factors such as age, gender, race and ethnicity, union affiliation, migration and employment status; and commercial dynamics in supply chains.

Garment Workers Face Mounting Forced Labor Risks

Published: June 21, 2021

1000+ Interviews Reveal Destructive Brand Practices Contributed to Unpaid Earnings, Threats and Abuse, Skyrocketing Debt, and a Dangerous Lack of PPE New research by the University of Sheffield and the Worker Rights Consortium finds that declining income and working conditions for workers in garment supply chains amid the Covid-19 pandemic has increased workers’ vulnerability to…

Hanging by a thread

Published: June 20, 2021

Weakening Legal Protections for Garment Workers in Asia

Published: May 27, 2021

May 27, 2021 Dear colleagues, Over the past year, the WRC has tracked a disturbing trend: as their populations faced the ravages of Covid, the governments of several garment-producing countries in Asia acted to strip away and undermine worker protections, a move often framed as a way to attract new investment. In Indonesia and India,…

Texport Creation

Published: April 6, 2021

The apparel industry’s chronically low wages left most garment workers with no savings on the eve of the Covid-19 crisis. Since most governments in apparel exporting countries provide little or no unemployment benefits, the only thing standing between an out-of-work garment worker and immediate poverty for her family are the legally mandated severance benefits that…