Garment Workers Pressed by Piling Microfinance Debt, Report Says

Tens of thousands of garment workers, who are facing slashed work hours and wages amid the global pandemic and economic downturn, will struggle to repay mounting microfinance debt, a new civil society report says.

The majority of more than 100 surveyed microloan-holding union workers said they were already eating less food or had taken another loan to repay their debts, according to the report released on Tuesday by labor rights group Central, human rights organization Licadho and the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU).

The vast majority of surveyed workers, all CATU members from three garment factories located in Phnom Penh and Kampong Chhang province who were questioned between March and May, said they would not be able to repay debts if their factory suspended operations and that “their livelihoods were much worse or slightly worse after taking a loan,” the report says.

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