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50-62% of Bengaluru garment workers forced to resign amid pandemic

Published: 2021-04-07

About 50-62 per cent of the workforce in the garment sector in Bengaluru was forced to resign by factory managements, according to a recent report on the status of garment factory workers in the city. The March 2021 report, titled ‘Forced Resignations, Stealthy Closures’, was brought out by the Garment and Textile Workers’ Union (GATWU) and the Alternative Law Forum (ALF).

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The survey was conducted in two phases—between September and October 2020, 89 workers from 25 factories were interviewed, while 65 of the same workers were interviewed between January and February this year.

“Workers at 17 of the 25 factories surveyed reported that they had been asked to resign by the companies due to ‘losses’ suffered. Altogether, 81 per cent of workers said they had resigned. The rest were protesting the closure or were yet to resign. Of those who had resigned, 85 per cent said they had been asked to resign by the factory,” the report stated.

“Many reported that when their factories said they were closing, they were presented with two options—resigning and getting their dues or not resigning and suffering a delay or losing out on their dues. This is clear evidence of a coercive situation created by factory managements,” the report stated.

“In our survey of 25 factories in three garment clusters in Bengaluru, nine had closed entirely, resulting in anywhere between 5,600 and 7,200 workers losing their jobs during the pandemic. The remaining 16 factories in our survey reduced their workforce, resulting in loss of jobs to about 11,000 workers,” it said.

“Given that between 30,000 and 35,000 workers were employed in the 25 factories, it can be estimated that on an average, about 50 to 62 per cent of the workforce in the surveyed factories had been forced to resign,” the report added.

“Nutrition took a major hit due to the loss of income in the households of these workers. Workers cut down on meat, vegetables, fruits, snacks, and beverages such as tea and coffee. In some cases, the number of meals was down from thrice to twice or even once a day. Those with school-going children reported shifting them from private to government schools,” the survey revealed.

Source:Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)