EFP for foreign buyers’ support to garments industry

KARACHI:Foreign buyers and brands must support ready made garments by making longer term and advance bookings of existing capacities as it is a labor intensive industry and the largest employer of women workers in Asia.

They should make serious projections and commitments and must collaborate with garment factories in planning future production to help the industry escape serious issues high cost of production, emphasized Majyd Aziz, a former President of Employers’ Federation of Pakistan (EFP) while speaking at the “Decent Work in Garment Supply Chains Asia” event held in Bangkok, said a EFP release here on Wednesday.

Majyd Aziz, who spoke on behalf of all Asian employers at the inaugural session, said major international retailers and brands are much larger and richer than the Asian garment manufacturers.

He said the consumers in Europe and North America were better positioned to pay extra money for the garment. Unfortunately, most Western buyers ruthlessly negotiate to maximize their profit margins by asking for discounts by claiming poor sales, demanding unjustified claims, and making arbitrary cancellations of orders, etc.

Moreover, he added, they routinely threaten factory owners to shift their orders to other factories which often results in factory closure and rendering workers unemployed.

He advised that "major brands should pay a fair price since costing is simple and transparent for garment manufacturing". "The betterment of a garment worker is also dependent on the commitments, planning, projections, and ethics of the foreign buyers.".

Majyd Aziz also asserted to discuss and debate the agenda of promote decent work, environmental sustainability and gender equality in garment supply chains in Asia.

Despite many challenges and vulnerabilities, especially in the garment sector, there was an industry-wise need to focus on gender transformative, especially working together so that women could access emerging opportunities in higher skilled and higher paid jobs and tasks.

The women organizations must take this as a priority by using social dialogue and multi-stakeholder meetings to highlight prevention of violence and harassment of women at work, he said.

He informed that after successful and intensive advocacy and lobbying by EFP, the ILO Better Work Program has commenced and over 180 factories had applied for registration, while initially two dozen factories in Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad are already in the program.