Covid-19 surge leads to labour shortage for garment, leather exporters
Rising Covid-19 cases have led to labour shortages for garment and leather goods exporters in numerous cities, causing challenges for manufacturers which have international orders to complete.
Migrant workers had been slowly but surely returning to manufacturing units following numerous lockdowns but the return of Covid-19 regulations in numerous locations has stopped the flow, the Economic Times reported. This, coupled with international orders to fulfil, has led to a labour shortage in numerous fashion sectors.
“Earlier, we were working at 70% capacity,” the Noida Apparel Export Cluster’s president Lalit Thukral told the Economic Times. “But now, suddenly, the flow of orders from the US and Europe has increased. The migrant workers were slowly coming in. But the rising covid cases has halted the process and we are in the dark on how to handle the orders. We have taken up the matter with the Uttar Pradesh government as well.”
“This is an added problem apart from the rising cotton prices which is impacting the exporting units,” said Thukral. “Cotton prices which were at Rs 37,000 per candy of 335 kg in September 2020 has gone to up to Rs 70,000 in December 2021.”
As well as the garment industry, leather goods exporters in areas including Mumbai, Kolkata, and Delhi are also in need of workers. Workers catching Covid-19 and missing work due to illness has added to the labour shortage. Cases in Mumbai and Delhi are rising swiftly and even though much of the workforce is double vaccinated, they are still catching Covid-19 and getting sick.
Exporters fear that failing to deliver their orders to international brands on time could lead them to look to India’s competitor manufacturing countries such as Vietnam and Bangladesh in the future which would cost the businesses dearly.
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