Garment workers face destitution as Covid-19 closes factories

The fashion industry is facing calls to step in and protect the wages of the 40 million garment workers in their supply chains around the world who face destitution as factories close and orders dry up in the wake of the Covid-19 epidemic.

Many factories in garment-producing countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Vietnam are already closing due to a shortage of raw materials from China and declining orders from western clothing brands.

Campaigners are demanding that brands take responsibility for the millions of workers in their supply chains that are likely to fall into crippling poverty as they lose their jobs and struggle to provide for their families.

Scott Nova, executive director at the Worker Rights Consortium, part of the Clean Clothes Campaign, said that poverty wages, unsafe and unsanitary workplaces, and poor health already makes the garment workforce highly vulnerable to the worst effects of the Covid-19 virus.