A global industry facing new challenges
The sector is composed predominantly of unskilled workers, young women, a large number of internal migrants, workers on short-term contracts. The sector is also characterized by low levels of trade union representation and. In some countries, garment manufacturing may be one of the only opportunities to move into the formal sector, and frequently one of the few jobs considered acceptable for women. Additionally, the sector remains among the most labour-intensive industries, despite advances in technology and workplace practices.
Owing to its global nature, the sector faces major issues such as cost competitiveness, product innovation and how to compete in an increasingly global market. Such factors make the sector highly vulnerable, impacting the social conditions of millions of workers whose livelihoods depend on it.
Rana Plaza, two years on