CoronavirusEmployee Relations

Women in garment factories experience higher Covid-19 death rates, statistics show

According to the latest analysis published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) of deaths registered between 9 March and 28 December 2020, women sewing machinists have the highest Covid-19 fatality rate (64.8 deaths per 100,000) of any female occupation

Women working in Britain’s garment factories are four times more likely to die from Covid-19 than the average female worker.

According to the latest analysis published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), amongst the number of deaths registered between 9 March and 28 December 2020, women sewing machinists had the highest Covid-19 fatality rate (64.8 deaths per 100,000) of any female occupation.

This rate is higher than that of women working in at-risk sectors like caring, leisure and other service occupations (27.3 deaths per 100,000).

Ben Humberstone, head of health analysis and life events, ONS, said that the analysis shows that jobs with “regular exposure” to Covid-19 and those working in “close proximity to others” continue to have higher Covid-19 death rates when compared with the rest of the “working age population”.

Reacting to the news Lee Barron, Midlands regional secretary at the TUC, stated that everyone should be “safe at work”.

He said: “[This] is Why we’re pushing for a new partnership model that puts union access at the heart of the garment sector. A new approach where unions, retailers and factory management work together to ensure that legal minimums are being applied across the industry.

“The government must use its much-delayed employment bill to make firms liable for abuses in their supply chains.No company should be able to wash its hands of responsibility if their subcontractors mis-treat staff and deny them their basic rights.”

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