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International Partnerships

Urgent COVID response to support garment workers’ rights and livelihood

Better Work focuses on improving working conditions and respect of workers’ labour rights, in particular women workers, in the garment sector. Boosting competitiveness of apparel businesses and applying fundamental international labour standards. The EU is one of the key donors of the ILO-led Better Work programme.

Achieving this complex and difficult objective becomes even more challenging during the COVID- crisis.

Women in garment ector washing hands during pandemic
Better Work Bangladesh, Global Attire Ltd,

In Bangladesh, while continuing to assist factories through virtual visits focusing on practical guidance on COVID-19 response, Better Work together with other UN agencies and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association has created a task force with interested buyers to support the production of level-1 PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) in the country.

This production is not only a response to the immediate Covid-19 crisis but is also a future investment in higher-level PPE production capacity in the long-term.

Worker in Vietnam washing hands during COVID-19 crisis
ILO Vietnam

Vietnam -Better Work, in liaison with the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, WHO in Vietnam, the Vietnamese Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, and the ILO Vietnam Country Office has developed a practical guide (in Vietnamese) for the industry.

In the 'Guide for Better Response to COVID-19' a key recommendation is that employers, in conjunction with workers and unions, develop policies and procedures to reduce risks – such as nominating a person or team to implement recommended measures, ensure that workers are encouraged to report illness and provide on-site medical support. The guide provides advice on compliance questions, such as the importance of continuing to pay workers who have contracted COVID-19 and are not able to come to the workplace or those who suspect that they have it or other issues concerning pay and leave.