By  on April 10, 2009

GENEVA — The International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation estimates more than 11 million jobs in the textiles and apparel sectors have been lost worldwide since June.

“Almost all countries are affected, but China is by far the biggest with roughly 10 million jobs lost in textiles, apparel and footwear,” said Neil Kearney, general secretary of the federation. Another three million jobs are considered to be at risk because of deteriorating economic conditions.

The union estimates that 8,210 factories and mills have closed between June and the end of March. Asia was the most severely hit region, with 7,479 closures. China alone accounted for 6,000.

Kearney said surveys by affiliated unions and public and government data show 400,000 jobs were lost in India with the shutdown of 1,000 plants. An estimated 200,000 industry jobs disappeared in Pakistan after 335 factories and mills ceased to operate. Federation analysts estimate another 400,000 jobs are at risk in India, along with 100,000 in Pakistan.

The situation also is dire for textile, apparel and footwear workers in Vietnam, where 200,000 jobs were lost in the sector and another 150,000 are threatened, Kearney said.

The situation also is bleak for workers who have kept their jobs, Kearney said. Many are confronted with demands by employers for wage cuts and are working longer hours. He said the situation had been made worse because many industry buyers “have been demanding price cuts, often in midcontract.”

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