“I have worked in the garment sector for over a decade now. Yet when Covid hit the nation, I was forced to resign from my job. Now, I have somehow managed to get my job back, but my salary is not enough to bear today’s living costs. Even after so many years, I feel like I have not been valued at the factory. The factory owners barely care about our well being,” lamented Jayamma, a garment worker in Bengaluru. She was speaking at a discussion on ‘State Inaction towards Garments Workers’, organised by Garment and Textile Workers Union (GATWU) and Alternative Law Forum on Sunday in the city.

Garment workers say that their sector has been neglected by the government for a long time as their problems are palmed off to the factory owners, who also do not care about them. “Be it the minimum wage revision, payment of Dearness Allowance or even the extensive job losses during Covid-19, neither the government nor the factory owners cared about us. Our problems remain unsolved even to this day,” said Prathiba R. President, GATWU, speaking to The Hindu. Among the demands placed by the workers to the government were those pertaining to minimum wages, action to stop workplace harassment of women, provision of better transport facilities, making ESI more labour friendly and the intervention of the Labour Department when union workers are dealt with violence by the factory owners.