MADRID (Reuters) – A group of employers’ organisations, unions and major brands in the garment industry are working with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to support manufacturers affected by the coronavirus outbreak, the ILO said on Wednesday.
Under the agreement, brands and retailers commit to paying manufacturers for finished goods and goods in production, the organisation said in a statement. They will also commit to maintaining open lines of communication with supply chain partners about the status of business operations and future planning, it added.
The group called on governments and financial institutions to accelerate access to credit and income support.
“This is an unprecedented crisis that can only be solved through global solidarity,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “The priority must be to sustain businesses and protect workers.”
Brands and retailers who have signed up to the call to action include Adidas <ADSGn.DE>, C&A <CEAB3.SA>, H&M <HMb.ST>, Inditex <ITX.MC>, M&S <MKS.L>, Primark <ABF.L>, Under Armour <UAA.N> and PVH <PVH.N>, the ILO said.
An international working group will be set up within the next two weeks to elaborate the steps to deliver on the commitments, it added.
The garment industry employs millions of workers worldwide, producing goods for international brands in countries from Vietnam to India.
Brands reeling from slumping demand as stores close to control the coronavirus outbreak have cancelled an estimated $3 billion worth of orders in Bangladesh alone, where some 4,000 factories employ around 4 million.
(Reporting By Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)