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Pandemic seen rolling back conditions in Asia garment factories

Reuters

2020-10-21 21:38:10

PHNOM PENH Oct 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The pandemic risks triggering a race to the bottom that could push tens of millions of Asian garment workers into greater hazard on the factory floor, with women hardest hit, the International Labour Organization said on Wednesday.

About 40% of workers furloughed or laid off by the COVID-19 crisis were not back at work by the third quarter and those who do return could lose hard-won labour rights, the agency said.

“Workers are extremely vulnerable and factories are vulnerable to agree to conditions with brands that don’t allow them to ensure proper working conditions,” said Tara Rangarajan of the ILO’s Better Work programme.

“It’s important ... that this doesn’t become a race to the bottom where those at the lowest end of power and privilege are the ones that suffer the greatest,” she said at the launch of an ILO report on the pandemic’s effect on garment workers.

Garment workers have been heavily hit by the pandemic, with shops closed and factories shuttere

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