Pakistan’s garment workers lost over Rs13.5 billion in ‘wage theft’ during Covid-19: report

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Pakistan's garment workers lost over Rs13.5 billion in ‘wage theft’ during Covid-19: report
Pakistan's garment workers lost over Rs13.5 billion in ‘wage theft’ during Covid-19: report
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Pakistan’s garment workers suffered ‘wage theft’ to the tune of over Rs13.5 billion during the Covid-19 pandemic, stated the Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) in its latest report titled, ‘Money Heist : COVID 19 Wage Theft in Global Garment Supply Chains’, Business Recorder.

The AFWA was founded in 2007 as the Asian-led global labour and social alliance across garment producing countries (such as India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Bangladesh) and consumer regions (USA and Europe).

It conducted a survey of 605 workers from 50 garment factories in Pakistan, located across three districts in Punjab and Sindh – Faisalabad, Lahore, and Karachi.

It found that wage theft was the predominant feature of the Covid-19 crisis for garment workers in Pakistan.

“Wage theft was the predominant feature of the Covid-19 crisis for garment workers in Pakistan,” stated the detailed report. “Our survey estimates indicate that 244,510 garment workers across 50 factories in Pakistan were denied 85.08 million USD as wages due to order cancellations, non-payment for existing orders, and other irresponsible practices by brands during the pandemic.”

The report said that wage theft peaked in April 2020 but workers consistently experienced wage theft throughout the year, and well into 2021. However, the magnitude of wage theft declined towards the end of the year with an increase in production due to government support and relaxation of Covid-19 lockdown-related restrictions.

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