After years of sanctions, trade with Myanmar (formerly Burma) has started to flow. Low wages and favourable trade conditions are luring garment production from the region to this fragile democracy. Big and lesser known European brands are tempted to join in with this ‘race to the bottom’, unhindered by poor working conditions. In a report from February 2017, “The Myanmar Dilemma”, the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) documents in detail how garments made in Myanmar for brands including H&M, C&A and Primark are produced for very low wages. Researchers found that long working hours and child labour are no exception in this industry. In the development of industrial zones, land rights have also been violated.
This report from June 2016 presents the findings of a legal capacity-building project conducted during 2015-2016 to empower women garment workers in Bengalaru (Bangalore), Karnataka to challenge sexual harassment and violence at work. Sisters for Change partnered with Munnade, a local NGO working to support women garment workers with close ties to the only women-led garment worker union in Karnataka, the Garment Labour Union (GLU).
The realities of working in Europe’s shoe manufacturing peripheries in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia; Often consumers in Western Europe believe that “Made in Europe” is a synonym for working conditions that are better than in production countries in Asia. This report from June 2016 shows that this is not always the case, and that problematic working conditions and very low wages in particular, are occurring endemically across global supply chains worldwide. In Europe’s lowwage countries, the clothing and shoe industry is notorious for poor pay and bad conditions.
Often consumers in Western Europe believe that “Made in Europe” is a synonym for working conditions that are better than in production countries in Asia. This report shows that this is not always the case, and that problematic working conditions and very low wages in particular, are occurring endemically across global supply chains worldwide. In Europe’s lowwage countries, the clothing and shoe industry is notorious for poor pay and bad conditions.
This report has been produced by Centro Nuovo Modello di Sviluppo (CNMS) and the Campagna Abiti Puliti in 2016. A Tough Story of Leather analyses the situation for workers in the Italian tanning industry. This research, which forms part of the Change your Shoes project, focuses on the so called Leather Republic: the Santa Croce District.
Factsheet on the leather and labour that go into your shoes produced by by Centro Nuovo Modello di Sviluppo (CNMS) and the Campagna Abiti Puliti in 2016. The research is part of the Change your Shoes project.
Monitoring and evaluation of advocacy for development is an emerging field. Many CSOs, donors and evaluators are now involved with advocacy. Questions of how to understand and assess programmes are urgent. This e-book from 2016 seeks to contribute to practical capacity on this front on the basis of lessons learned during the largest evaluation of advocacy for development in history.
Undress corruption. How to Prevent Corruption in The Readymade Garment Sector: Scenarios from Bangladesh
This study by Transparency International from January 2016 reveals that irregularities along the entire RMG supply chain have become a de facto rule. Violations of existing labor and safety laws are being “overlooked” through bribes which is also used to hide deficiencies of quality and quantity and non-compliance with buyers’ Codes of Conduct. In this atmosphere of failing governance and accountability of stakeholders, extortion is an additional “tool” used to maximize profit.
A 100-page report published by the International Labor Rights Forum in December 2015 and based on in-depth interviews with more than 70 workers, shows that workers will not be safe without a voice at work. New interviews with Bangladeshi garment workers make clear that a climate of fear and intimidation prevails in the country’s industry, two and a half years after the Rana Plaza building collapse and the launch of the first industrial reform programs to address the pervasive fire and structural hazards in Bangladeshi garment factories.
Finding new drivers of competitiveness. This paper by the ILO presents regional trends and national estimates of exports, employment, wages, productivity and working time in the garment, textile and footwear industries in developing Asia and the Pacific based on official trade statistics and national labour force survey data.
In Myanmar, the garment industry is booming thanks to an upsurge in investment by international brands, but garment workers are facing tough conditions. This briefing paper from December 2015 presents the research findings of and makes recommendations for international sourcing companies and factories to help them protect garment workers’ rights.
Written by TUAC and OECD Watch this report from June 2014 looks at the role of the OECD and National Contact Points in ensuring compensation is received by all survivors and families of victims of the Rana Plaza Building Collapse.
The following report from March 2014 was written in response to the violent crackdown of garment workers in Phnom Penh in January 2014. It discusses the current human and labor rights crisis affecting garment workers in Cambodia; its relationship to the underlying issue of inadequate wages; the response of university licensees to the WRC’s recent communications to them on this subject; and the WRC’s recommendations for further action by licensees and other brands and retailers doing business in Cambodia.
Making Global Corporations' Labor Rights Commitments Legally Enforceable: The Bangladesh Breakthrough
One of the most distinctive attributes of the recently signed Accord on Building and Fire Safety in Bangladesh ("Accord") is that, unlike nearly all initiatives since the advent of global manufacturing to address the safety and wellbeing of supply chain workers, the agreement entails commitments by multinational enterprises that are legally enforceable. This brief document outlines the agreement’s key elements and enforcement provisions, their significance in the current debate on global labor rights, and the objections to them that have been voiced by some apparel brands and retailers. Written by the US-based Worker Rights Consortium in June 2013.
The Killer Jeans Campaign, launched in November 2010, called on major brands and retailers to stop sandblasting, a method of giving jeans a worn-out look. The process can seriously damage workers’ health if performed without suitable protective equipment. Over 40 major brands and retailers have issued a ban on sandblasting but, as Dominique Muller explains in this article from September 2012, garment workers are still being asked to risk their lives for fashion.
A historic agreement signed in 2011 regarding trade union rights in factories in Indonesia. The pact was signed by Indonesian textile, clothing and footwear unions, major supplier factories and the major sportswear brands, including Adidas, Nike and Puma.
Missed the Goal for Workers: The Reality of Soccer Ball Stitchers in Pakistan, India, China and Thailand
This report presents the key findings of the International Labor Rights Forum’s research in the four largest soccer balls producing countries: Pakistan, India, China and Thailand. This report also highlights the need to rethink the strategies being utilized by companies to encourage suppliers to adhere to strong labor standards. Written by the International Labor Rights Forum, 2010.
Report from October 2008 by the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation. One of the key issues of concern to workers in our sector in all parts of the world is the level of wages they need to subsist and the hours they need to work in order to earn that wage.
Wal-Mart's Sweatshop Monitoring Fails to Catch Violations: The Story of Toys Made in China for Wal-Mart
Field research by Students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) conducted in 2007 shows that Wal-Mart consistently fails to catch and stop serious labor violations in its Chinese supplier factories. Indeed, the working conditions in Wal-Mart’s Chinese supplier factories are increasingly falling below the International Labor Organization’s defined minimum standard for socially acceptable work. Interviews conducted between June 2005 and December 2006 with eighty-two workers at five Wal-Mart toy supplier factories in the industrial zones of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in Guangdong province uncovered widespread illegal and unethical labor practices that previously eluded Wal-Mart auditors.
While sportswear companies rake in their profits and World Cup players and fans enjoy the matches in Germany, the Thai women who put together footballs for major brands such as adidas earn so little they can do little more than buy food. Report written by the Thai Labour Campaign in 2006.
The Africa - Asia Labour Networking Garment Workshop was held in Swaziland in May 2005. The workshop aimed to develop campaigning initiatives to improve working conditions in Eastern and Southern African garment factories. The workshop focused specifi cally on developing initiatives to address working conditions in Asian manufacturer multinationals, producing for large retailers, especially Wal-Mart. In cooperative solidarity, trade unions, shop stewards, and NGOs shared information and developed an action plan in order to improve working conditions in the region.
This is a strategy guide from 2005 designed to provide unions with information on Asian Multinationals in the global supply chain and is to be used in seeking ways combating the effects of global trade on African workers in the garment sector. It presents various tools and institutions for regulating the labour practices of these MNCs and presents some food for thought in an alternative development model for Africa’s textile and garment industry.
This second booklet from a publication series from 2005 for garment workers in Africa. This booklet is about the practice of combatting multinational producers and retailers and aimed at trade union organisers and shop stewards with some experience already. It assumes a basic working knowledge of union concepts and issues in the industry.
This third booklet from a publication series from 2005 for garment workers in Africa. This book is created as a workbook to be used to guide discussion and education on some of the struggles that face workers in the garment sector in Africa. To do this the book uses three methods, story telling, information notes and guided discussion activities.
Seminar on ‘Experiences in Organising Garment Workers’, held on January 17, 2004 during the World Social Forum in Mumbai, looked at the organising strategies employed in differnt countries, which have led to an improvement in working and living conditions of garment workers and their collective strength.
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