The prolonged weakened demand for fashion due to the pandemic has come at a high cost for Philippines’ garment factories.
Around 30 per cent of garment workers are expected to be furloughed till the end of the year, according to the Confederation of Wearable Exporters of the Philippines.
It said that factories have to adhere to enhanced safety protocols at this time, forcing them to work on marked downtime.
In a statement, Maritess Agoncillo, Executive Director of the Confederation, said that the sluggish demand has resulted in factories repurposing their operations to produce medical grade PPE as that is more in demand at the moment and the Government is encouraging local production, which will also help save jobs to some extent.
Other than this, factories have resorted to rotational work basis so that they get at least 2 weeks’ worth of pay.
Most factories in the country are still functioning at 40-50 per cent of their capacity.
Additionally, the repurposing programme has attracted US $ 35 million in investments and saved upwards of 7,400 jobs till date, but the fact remains that the cost of operating in the ‘new normal’ has gone up and factories have to complete with imports.
She also explained the Confederation’s attempts to help workers, “We are trying our best to maintain status quo within the workforce. Since capacity for [the] third quarter is projected to be down at 40 per cent, we expect around 20 to 30 per cent of regular workers may be on furlough until end-year.”