If there is any sector that has had a severe impact on its functioning due to COVID-19 pandemic, then it has to be the Textile sector. The pandemic has already caused a severe case of unemployment in different sectors across the country and the Textile industry is no exception to this.
Right from shutting down plant operations, thus putting people out of jobs, to laying off employees, every sector is facing a big dilemma of running their companies. While the mantra to success in keeping a job safe is to ‘perform or perish’, this mantra has the spotlight on it in a completely different scenario.
To point out an example, Bengaluru’s garment sector is going through some troubles as the sector is laying off thousands of employees within weeks. Karnataka is known to generate employment in the garment sector, especially for women. Its capital city Bengaluru is the country’s largest textile manufacturing hub which employs around 2.5 lakh people.
Many of the city’s high-performing and labour-intensive plants are shutting down their operations already or are laying off their employees to save on costs, thus putting millions of livelihoods at risk. Karnataka is still slow in its progress towards controlling the pandemic in the state and is gradually coming back to normalcy.
Even then, the sector has a long way to go when it comes to resuming full-fledged operations and starting production in full swing. The main reason is that the sector will take a long time to even get domestic orders, international orders for fabrics and yarns still seems a far-fetched dream.
On Saturday, the Srirangapatna unit of the largest apparel manufacturer and exporter Gokaldas Exports, laid off 1200 employees. The company will offer a portion of the employees’ salaries for the next two weeks. The factory workers’ union even fears that the facility will soon be closed.
There are other bigwigs in the clothing manufacturing in Bengaluru like Garden City Fashion, Sonal Garments, Texport Industries and Punith Creations which are either closing their operations or are laying off employees. All of these events have taken place in the last 2 or 3 weeks.
While the companies are looking to cut costs, they are also risking the livelihood of thousands of people, including and especially women, who are hired in most of the manufacturing units in Bengaluru. Karnataka is known to employ a great number of workers in the garment industry, 4 lakh people to be precise.
According to Economic Times, the industry experts predict that it will take at least six months to one year for the market to pick up on customer demands. And this is the scene of the domestic market. When it comes to international markets, the pick-up time will be even longer, especially in the USA and Europe regions.
The main reason behind this is, first off, international trade has been prohibited and most of the garment-making companies send their goods to the international markets. Secondly, with the pandemic creating change in customer’s buying behaviour, the end-user demand is almost zero today. Now, the entire textile industry is dependent on the end-user demand. Only if there is a demand for fabrics among customers or companies, will they start producing the fabrics.
However, there are other garment-making companies that are slowly resuming operations and finding different ways to sustain. For example, Mandhana Industries has started to go with the trend and has already started producing PPE suits that include making masks for big brands like Wildcraft and body suits too! PPE kits are the need of the hour today and looking at the demand, the company decided to make the most of this opportunity to make high quality PPE suits.
The textile industry hopes to be back in operation in full swing. And while there are companies finding alternatives to stay afloat, the industry still has a long way to go back to normalcy.