When the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted global supply chains, major international brands canceled their garment orders, and with it put millions of workers in Asia out of work.
Popular brands saw their sales drop and have canceled orders from several countries, including from Cambodia and Bangladesh. Other brands have reduced their orders or renegotiated their terms.
This has far-reaching consequences in the countries where the clothes are produced. Suppliers cannot pay their workers, and with brands canceling orders, union workers VOA Khmer spoke to have called on buyers to stay with them during challenging times. They argue that workers have contributed to the brands’ wealth over the last three decades through their manual labor, and the crisis should not be carried by the workers alone. But labor protection is scarce, and many workers have been laid off without severance pay or outstanding pay, union activist Nazma Akter said.