27 Mar THE END OF THE BARGAIN
The pandemic has reached it course from Wuhan, China amassing the entire globe causing million of dollars stock to be on hold or cancelled. Nothing is spared in its power from financial crisis to medical crisis, it is the crisis of humanity. Countries are in lockdown, quarantine has been imposed, people are self -isolating. Government of all the countries has imposed restriction on movements. Health workers are on twenty-four shifts. The pandemic has put the world on hold, it like a scene straight out of an apocalypse movie.
Since pandemic, all the major industries are on shutdown including the trillion-dollar Fashion industry. Retailers have shut down their shops, the production house, export houses are all locked down, billion dollars of orders are cancelled or “put on hold”. In this entire chain, one major string has been forgotten, they are spine of the industry and their functioning is vital. At the end of the bargain, we have the workers who work whole day and night in a room enclosed with damp and dusty walls, dim lighted producing thousands of garments every day.
Amidst this, they are the forgotten ones, Mostafiz Uddin, a Bangladeshi garment manufacturer while writing for Business of Fashion, reminds that “Poverty is a killer too, and many more people die from poverty than from Covid-19.”
Due to the pandemic, Bloomberg reports that around 1,890 factories have been shut down, which roughly puts one fourth of the population without job, no means to pay for the basic amenities and on the borderline for survival during the pandemic.
Bangladesh is only one part of the spectrum, countries like Vietnam, Myanmar where economic crisis before pandemic was over the edge has worsened as factories producing fast fashion have been shut down due to pandemic.
This puts the workers on the forefront of medical emergency crisis, the director of AWAJ Foundation, Nazma Akter, from Bangladesh throws light on the subject, “These workers now don’t know how will they take care of their families in the coming days, how they will manage costs for food, rent and other necessities. They don’t know what they’ll do if they or their family member need medical treatment for COVID-19.The meager income these workers earned was barely enough to cover their cost of living, and as a result, they have no little savings set aside to deal with crisis such as this.”
In the supply chain, they run like blood flows through our veins and now they are drained of their basic right- to survive. The pandemic has caused a severe crisis all around the world, but this does not mean that we put forth ourselves and keep the workers who put their sweats, time and energy to produce the clothes we wear at bay. This scenario is not only in third world nations, even in India, workers of the fabric producing factories, local artisans who do not have any kind of social security are prone and susceptible to be affected by the crisis and COVID-19.
Bearing this in mind, we need to stand up and use our privilege to at least make a difference for these workers survival by pressing the brands to help these workers by any means necessary to get through this pandemic, to help them stay healthy and safe.