The Clean Clothes Campaign, the garment industry's largest alliance of labour unions and NGOs, is warning that textile factories are facing the closure in many countries, including Albania due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Thanks to some of the lowest labour costs in Europe and proximity to international fashion centre Italy, which lies just across the Adriatic, Albania has become an important centre for garment manufacturing.
Other affected plants, according to the Clean Clothes Campaign are located in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia and across Central America.
The plants are closing as quarantine and self-isolation measures are being rapidly imposed by governments across the world.
Due to the coronavirus, many factories in garment-producing countries are closing because of a shortage of raw materials from China.
In addition, as brands continue to reduce orders due to declining consumer demand and mandatory closure of shops, more factories will be forced to close.
A growing number of major international retailers are already cancelling orders as the crisis causes demand for clothes and other non-essentials to fall. Among them, fast fashion giant Primark owned by Associated British Foods Plc has closed its stores across the UK and reportedly cancelled new orders from suppliers, while Marks & Spencers has delayed £100mn (€108mn) of clothing orders.
Campaigners are demanding that brands take responsibility for the millions of workers in their supply chains who are likely to lose their jobs.
Clean Clothes Campaign urged all clothing brands to take immediate proactive steps in their due diligence to protect workers who make their goods in the face of the global pandemic, it said in a statement on March 17.
“Due to their low wages and widespread repression of freedom of association rights, garment workers already live in precarious situations and the economic fallout of the pandemic is having far-reaching consequences,” said the statement.
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