August 29, 2009 (Cambodia)
Better Factories, Cambodia, an organisation affiliated to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has reported that the compliance of labour laws has improved amongst hundreds of factories, but these gains may be nullified due to the slowdown in the global economy.
Better Factories, works towards creating better working conditions in the manufacturing sector also acknowledged that around 60,000 jobs have been lost in the garment manufacturing sector since the last few months.
But experts from the apparel sector, question the figure of job losses quoted by Better Factories by saying that there are many units which are not registered with the ILO, since only exporting companies are obliged to register themselves.
There are over a 100 apparel manufacturing units which work on sub-contract from the bigger units and the working conditions of workers is very worse in these plants. Experts suggest that if the country wants to match the standards of China and Vietnam, these factories will also need to be brought under the ambit of ILO.
The report also delves upon the repeated number of strikes taking place in the garment sector in the country and says that the number of strikes have doubled in number from 12 to 23 in the first six months of 2009, with 17 of them reported from the garment export manufacturing sector.
Experts are of the opinion that these repeated strikes are hampering production cycles of export companies and bringing disrepute to the industry, which could prove to be harmful in the long run, when buyers decide to place orders with countries, with relatively less labour problems like India and Bangladesh.
According to the Free Trade Union of Workers, 78 factories have closed so far this year and the Commerce Ministry has projected a negative growth of 30 percent for garment exports in 2009. Experts have advised factories, not to cut wages as part of cost cutting measures to face challenges.
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India