KARNATAKA

Recession brings Bangalore’s garment industry to a halt

V. Sridhar

‘Only 75 p.c. of the work force being utilised at any given time’



Very little information about the industry in Bangalore in the public domain

It is estimated that there are four lakh workers in 400 units in the city and the outskirts



Bangalore: The recession in the industrialised world has brought Bangalore’s garment industry skidding to a halt. Although the industry employs roughly as many people in the city as the Information Technology industry does, the plight of garment workers has drawn only a fraction of the media attention that IT workers have.

An industry source told The Hindu that although there were no layoffs, only 75 per cent of the work force was being utilised at any given time. “The remaining workers are laid off in batches but without a wage cut.” Of course, the workers lose the variable component of their pay, the portion that rewards their contribution to productivity gains, during the period they are laid off.

An exporter who mainly caters to the U.S. market, said: “Christmas season orders have fallen by about 8 to 12 per cent compared to last year.” The industry has to wait till March for things to be clearer, he added. “However, by and large, we expect the situation to worsen by then,” he said. Although there is a general consensus that the garment industry is in a crisis, it is difficult to estimate its impact. Very little information about the industry in Bangalore is in the public domain.

The industry, which is largely unorganised, consists of major exporters as well as vendors and fabricators who subcontract work for the larger players. It is estimated that there are at least four lakh workers employed in about 400 units in the city and its outskirts.