The International Labour Organization (ILO) with the support of the Government of Sweden provides cash transfers for laid-off women workers in the textile and footwear sectors
- Supporting vulnerable women who have been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis
The Coronavirus pandemic has had an immense impact on the world of work, including the textile, clothing, leather and footwear industry. A high number of factories reduced production or suspended it temporarily; some of them closed down. This led to subsequent bouts of unemployment and layoffs for a large number of poor workers, primarily women, who were left without any source of income and fell below the poverty line.
In response to the crises, the International Labour Organization, with the financial support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, is implementing a cash transfer programme for women who were laid-off by textile, clothing, leather and footwear companies. As a first step, the ILO designed a fair and efficient identification mechanism for the beneficiaries. In line with EU practices, this was done in close cooperation with the social partners in Albania, BiznesAlbania, the Albanian Confederation of Trade Unions (KSSH), and the Albanian Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (BSPSH), in order to ensure that the most vulnerable women, who were highly impacted by the crisis, would have access to the resources available under the project through the cash transfer.
Among the over 420 beneficiaries who were identified, more than 250 already received the cash transfer. Most of the beneficiaries are women above 50 years of age, facing difficulties in reintegrating into the labour market. Many of them are single heads of the household or part of large households (five or more persons), with additional family responsibilities decreasing their ability to work. In the first group of beneficiaries, there are three persons with disabilities.
The cash transfers are distributed by EasyPay, an e-banking institution. This service offered basic financial literacy and supported free-of-charge accounts for un-banked women, and enabled transfers to be made even to remote regions.
Mrs. Kujtime Leshanaku, one of the beneficiaries of the ILO intervention says:
“I have been working for seven years in different textile factories. When the pandemic hit, I lost my job. Since then my phone calls, applications and search efforts have been countless and I never received a positive response. The financial support that the ILO and SIDA provided came as great help for me and my family in many aspects, not just the economic one. It inspired us to start over.”
Alongside with the Covid-19 cash transfers programme, the ILO is supporting ten textile and footwear companies with establishing better conditions for a safe return to work. Furthermore, in light of the expected recurrence of the health crisis for the forthcoming months, some actions are being taken to improve business continuity and the productivity of jobs in the industry.