A study by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the report of which was released recently, underlined in the third quarter of this year, around 43 per cent garment factories (suppliers) in Bangladesh have been operating with less than 50 per cent of the workforce that they had before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The largest proportion of suppliers (around 20 per cent) are operating between 30 and 39 per cent of the number of their pre-pandemic workforce, the report maintained adding only around 3.9 per cent of suppliers retained their entire workforce.
Titled ‘The supply chain ripple effect: How Covid-19 is affecting garment workers and factories in Asia and the Pacific’, the ILO study report was unveiled during a virtual briefing in Bangkok recently, which underlined that demand for apparel products declining due to the coronavirus pandemic, worker layoffs and dismissals has increased sharply.
Approximately 43 per cent of suppliers in Bangladesh are operating with less than 50 per cent of their pre-pandemic workforce, the report maintained, adding, that factories operational at the start of the third quarter of 2020 (whether they had remained operational throughout or reopened) were reportedly not operating at their pre-pandemic capacity.
The study which covered factories in Vietnam, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Cambodia, China, Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia and Pakistan, further added that garment imports from Asia dropped by up to 70 per cent in the first half of 2020.
And this was principally due to disruptions in raw material procurement, lockdowns and dwindling consumer demand.