MILAN — In a new study by Confindustria Moda and released on Thursday, the fashion and textile consortium SMI Sistema Moda Italia shed a light on companies’ massive request of the “cassa integrazione” wage support measure to navigate the financial crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the document, the lockdown caused working hours covered by the cassa integrazione to more than triple to over 50 million hours in the first four months of the year, compared to the total ones registered in 2019.

In particular, fashion companies accounted for 54.8 percent of the working hours covered by the measure. Wage support was mostly requested to aid blue collars workers, as the work of textile and fashion laborers accounted for 35.5 percent and 30.1 percent of the total hours covered by the measure, respectively. As for white collar workers, the ones operating in textile and fashion companies accounted for 15.1 percent and 19.3 percent of the hours, respectively.

“The massive appeal to the ‘cassa integrazione’ wage support measure concretely shows how the textile and clothing industries’ entrepreneurs want to keep their businesses alive and operative and to preserve jobs, despite the difficulties caused by the stop in production and drop in orders,” said SMI president Marino Vago. “Italian entrepreneurs are used to taking important risks, but they are also aware of being crucial players in the country’s economy and indispensable for preserving its social fabric.”

“Our supply chain, which is unique in the world, is very delicate and mainly made up of small and medium-sized companies, which are doing everything to preserve their own activity and distinctive identity. Therefore I hope for a greater synergistic collaboration between the various parties, in order to maintain a healthy balance of roles and results. The government must be an indispensable support partner for all of us, recognizing the important economic role of our sector,” concluded Vago.

As reported earlier this month, according to another Confindustria Moda study, in the first quarter of 2020 the Italian fashion and textile companies lost more than 3.5 billion euros in revenues and their sales could decrease by a total of about 9 billion euros by the end of the year.

At the time, Vago highlighted that, in order to protect their workforce, 95 percent of the companies included in that research used the wage support measures made available by the government and, to protect the safety of their employees, 80 percent of them activated smart working.