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Garment workers’ productivity plunges with rising temp, says study

by Apparel Resources News-Desk

3 weeks ago  |  2 mins   read

Image Courtesy: austinfound.blog.statesman.com

According to the latest study conducted by Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC)-India, an organization that designs and evaluates innovative solutions using cutting edge research approaches, hot weather can cause significant economic losses as workers tend to be less productive with the rise in Mercury.

The study analyses the productivity of workers in the country and co-relates it with the rising temperature. It showed that the productivity of the workers, primarily working in the cloth weaving or garment manufacturing, plunged by 4 per cent per degree as temperature rose above 27 degree Celsius.

As per the study conducted by the team of researchers including E Somanathan, Rohini Somanathan, Ananat Sudarshan and Meenu Tiwari, the heat not only influenced the productivity at work but also increased the absenteeism. A one degree increase in ten-day temperature average increased the possibility of worker being absent by 5 per cent. Also this remained valid for the factories that uses automation. The move in turn led to a less productive business and economy.

The researchers studied data from 70,000 plants across India and found that the productivity led to decrease in output of the factories. The output dropped by 3 per cent every degree which was above the average temperature. This loss is big enough to explain the entire reduction in the India’s economic output during hot days.

The study also revealed that workers working in plants with climate control measures were more productive but the measures did not control the absenteeism.

lAnant Sudarshan, South-Asia Director, EPIC, stated “Hot weather is linked to lower economic output in all countries. Air conditioning is expensive and poor countries are unlikely to move to universal cooling anytime soon. However, if cooing the workplace doesn’t prevent people from skipping work, then adapting to hotter temperatures will be difficult for even rich nations.”

Suggesting a way out, Sudarshan said that factories could relocate to cooler regions or automate their work to compensate for the lost productivity. But this may affect the employment rates and wages in the areas that are still struggling to grow.