Covid-19 Statement: Protecting garment workers has become even more important

The global Covid-19 pandemic has caused a sudden, dramatic shift to our daily lives, leaving no one unaffected. During these tough times, we naturally tend to focus on how to keep ourselves and our loved ones protected, and it’s important to look after one another both at home and at work. However, let’s not forget about how this pandemic is affecting the lives of the millions of women and men around the world working across international supply chains. Garment factories have been forced to shut their doors, leaving workers without the resources to support their families, neither in sickness nor in health.

While governments of garment-producing countries certainly have a duty to care for its citizens, international clothing brands also have a responsibility, not just for the employees in their own companies, but also for the workers across their supply chains. This, more than ever, is a time for the garment industry to show what global entrepreneurship really looks like. At the same time, we recognise that these are also trying times for brands, and some unfortunately have needed to close their shops.

At Fair Wear, we are encouraged to see that some brands are doing all they can to support the people that make their clothes. To help out, consumers can reward brands by buying from those that are making an effort to support all workers along the supply chain.

Because garment supply chains are long and international, these issues are not limited to a handful of countries. We need a truly global approach to ensure the wellbeing of garment workers. Ultimately, we are all connected through what we’re wearing.

European governments are making encouraging promises of support to the businesses and their employees in their countries, promising not to let them down in these difficult times. What is yet to be determined is what this means, exactly, for global supply chains and the millions of people making our clothes. It’s important that we, in Europe, show solidarity with one another. Let’s extend this solidarity to those who may not work in Europe, but are bound to us through the global garment industry – through the clothes we wear.

See Fair Wear’s full Covid-19 dossier, including guidance for brands and garment-producing countries, here.

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