For immediate release: April 22nd, 2020

Contact: Nazly Sobhi Damasio, 312.687.8360, nazly@globallaborjustice.org

Garment Brands Must be Financially Responsible for Garment Workers in Global Supply Chains During the COVID-19 Humanitarian Crisis

In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, many global garment brands have cancelled or postponed orders, placing the responsibility on suppliers and leading to millions of garment workers in global supply chains to be laid off or suspended indefinitely, most of whom are women. As is, garment workers in global supply chains are some of the most economically impacted workers in the global economy, working high risk poverty wage jobs who are not afforded social protections or paid leave whatsoever. The COVID-19 crisis has only further exacerbated this reality, and exposed garment workers and their families to face enormous economic, labor and human rights issues and without recourse to access their most basic needs including food, healthcare, or lost wages.

This week, Asia Floor Wage Alliance website (AFWA) released a specific income relief demand relief referred as the Supply Chain Relief Contribution (SRC) through which global garment brands financial responsibility for garment workers in global supply chains.  The SRC Contribution isa one-time brand supply chain contribution calculated at an  additional 2% of the total annual sourcing by the brand from the preceding 12 months at each respective factory towards immediate relief paid through suppliers to workers in a way that maintains the employment relationships. The SRC contribution would partially mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on supply chain workers and is fundamental as existing wages are so low workers do not have savings to cover the COVID-19 loss of income.

The SRC is a relief contribution and in no way substitutes brands’ existing and ongoing supply chain obligations to pay for orders given and produced, to not cancel orders, to not seek discounts in an already under-costed supply chain, and to act accountability in relation to any future cases of downsizing, retrenchment and closure.

“Brands must immediately contribute directly to income relief for garment workers and it should be paid through suppliers to protect continuity of the employment relationship.  Up to now, wages have been so consistently low that garment workers are not able to bear the months of unpaid work without risk to health and wellbeing for themselves and their families.  Fast Fashion global supply chains must also be transformed to ensure living wages and a social contract for all workers. GLJ supports Asia Floor Wage Alliance in their demands on brands and suppliers in global garment supply chains to implement the above mentioned steps to help partially offset the economic and humanitarian impact of the COVID-19 crisis on garment workers in global supply chains,” says Jennifer (JJ) Rosenbaum, U.S. Director of Global Labor Justice website

GLJ also urges brands and suppliers to join with AFWA and its member unions and allies in respective countries to work together with suppliers to ensure that the Supply-Chain Relief Contribution and any additional government relief programs reach all eligible workers with a co-enforcement mechanism.

You can read the AFWA note on SRC Contribution in full AFWA note on SRC Contribution in full