Ready-to-wear giants Primark and H&M promise continue to pay textile workers in Bangladesh, even though they are cancelling their orders because of the coronavirus crisis. They do so to support the badly affected country.
Textile workers for garment manufacturers in low-wage countries are likely to suffer from the Covid-19 crisis: in Bangladesh, no less than six billion euros in export earnings and several million jobs in the textile industry could be lost due to massive cancellations of orders from major retailers and brands.
As early as the end of March, Primark began cancelling dozens of orders and had advised suppliers in South-East Asia to cease production. H&M, Mango and Zara, among others, also suspended their orders, despite the fact that some were already in production. C&A has even indicated that it no longer intends to pay for orders that have already been produced.
Following criticism from Human Rights Watch and other organisations, Primark and H&M have responded by ensuring that workers affected by the cancellations will continue to be paid. H&M, the main recipient of garments made in Bangladesh, told RetailGazette it is in discussions with suppliers to find a solution. The Swedsh fashion giant says it is aware of the extremely vulnerable situation of suppliers and employees.
Nevertheless, more than two million workers in the country have already been affected by factory closures due to the Covid-19 crisis. According to local trade union officials, most employees have been temporarily laid off or given paid leave.