Millennium Post

Garment exporters' body expresses inability to pay workers' pay for April, May

New Delhi: The Garments Exporters and Manufacturers Association (GEMA) on Wednesday said it is not in a position to pay wages for April and May to workers engaged in the apparel sector following a disruption caused by coronavirus-forced lockdown in the country.

The body has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state chief ministers to facilitate payement of wages to workers for these two months.

GEMA president Vijay Jindal also sought intervention of Textile Minister Smriti Irani and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the matter.

"We humbly wish to inform that we are not in a position to pay wages for the months of April and May despite our best intention," he said.

Jindal said the garment industry is labour intensive and almost 30- 35 per cent of revenue forms the salary part.

"Most of the export orders have either been cancelled or put on hold, the consignments already shipped is also stuck. Even the apparel manufactured against orders are lying in factories because of the ban on movement/transport. The situation has become grave as they have yet not got any receipt of payment from the buyers," Jindal said.

According to him, the recent advisory of the government that wages must be paid by employers even during the lockdown period will push the apparel industry deeper into the crisis.

The garment exporters somehow managed to pay full wages in March, but cannot afford to pay the wages for the month of April, Jindal said, suggesting that the government should pay wages from the funds available in the Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana (ABVKY) Scheme, which has, "as understood, huge reserves .

ESI and labour funds can also be used to pay the wages for Employees covered under these schemes, he said.

The industry is collapsing and looking for the much-needed ray of hope and support to survive and sustain. We request the government to come forward and stand by the apparel export industry to pay wages for workers for the months of April and May," Jindal said.

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