Government’s advisory to continue paying full wages to employees during the lockdown is not possible for the majority of apparel manufacturers and they are repeatedly asking the Government to support in this regard.
Rakesh Biyani, President, The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) has informed the Government that it will be impossible for many of its smaller members to continue paying full salaries and wages unless any Government support is received.
It has urged the Central Government as well as the states, to come up with innovative ways of protecting the interests of the workers without causing irreparable losses to the industry, and in the process raise the spectre of massive financial bankruptcies in the MSME sector.
CMAI has also approached Minister of State for Labour, Santosh Gangwar, on this advisory.
The revenues of nearly all apparel manufacturers have come to a total halt (zero revenue) for the last 30 days and are likely to remain so in the coming 60 to 90 days. On the other hand, the Government has issued advisories that enterprises must pay full salaries and wages to all workers and that no employee should be out of employment.
In a letter written by CMAI to the Labour Ministry, it is mentioned that COVID-19 has plunged the industry into a crisis of unprecedented proportions, threatening the very survival of many of its smaller manufacturers. In a recent survey conducted by CMAI, it has emerged that at least 20 per cent of its members believe that they may consider closing down their business unless some Government assistance is provided.
CMAI represents domestic apparel manufacturers directly employing close to 12 million employees, with close to 40 per cent being women. Around 90 per cent of apparel manufacturers in the country are in the MSME sector, with more than half of these being in the micro-segment.
“Manufacturers have for years treated their employees as an extended family and would like to ensure maximum support for them. This is why the apparel industry somehow managed to pay the March salaries to its employees. However, going forward, it will be tough in a situation where there is no income for such an extended period,” Rakesh said.