Labour Rights Violations

The Clean Clothes Campaign believes that all workers have a right to good and safe working conditions, regardless of gender, age, country of origin, legal status, employment status or location, or any other ground. Fundamental rights include the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining, and to earn a living wage that allows workers to live in dignity.

Freedom of association

the right to organise or join a group of your own choice, for example a trade union

Examples of violations

  • The factory management denies the right to form or join a trade union. This happened in the Bratex case in Sri Lanka
  • Union leaders and members are harassed, discriminated against or fired, for example after raising labour rights violations, as happened in the Crescent Bahuman case
  • Union leaders or members are confronted with violence, arrest or imprisonment, as happened to workers of the Power Loom Mazdoor Union in Pakistan


Payment and contracts

this includes the right to a living wage, to no forced overtime, to proper payment of overtime, and also illegal factory closures and non-payment of legally owed severance pay

Examples of violations

  • Workers are not paid the legal minimum wage set by the government, as happened at the Gokaldas factory
  • Illegal factory closures often result in workers not receiving their overdue salaries or severance pay, or the compensation to which they are legally entitled. Examples we worked on in 2012 include the closed Kingsland factory in Cambodia and the closed Kizone factory in Indonesia


Occupational Health and Safety

the right to a safe and healthy workplace - many of the cases that we worked on in 2013 were related to unsafe working conditions in garment factories

Examples of violations

  • 2013 sadly holds the record of the worst industrial accident in the garment industry ever, with over 1,100 workers losing their lives at the collapse of the Rana Plaza building
  • Other tragic examples that the Clean Clothes Campaign worked on in 2013 include the deadly fires in the Tazreen factory in Bangladesh and the Ali Enterprises factory in Pakistan, with at least 269 and 112 fatalities respectively
  • In Cambodia, the roof of the Wing Star garment factory near Phnom Penh collapsed, killing 2 workers and injuring at least 29


Other rights violated

Other labour rights violations include gender discrimination, which the Clean Clothes Campaign worked on in the Indian Richa Global factory. And other extraordinary violations including persecution such as the three trade union activists that were facing trial for standing up against worker rights violations at a Triumph factory in Thailand, or the Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity finally getting back their mandatory NGO registration after a four-year struggle including a few weeks detention of the leaders.


See also:

What the Clean Clothes Campaign believes in

Clean Clothes Model Code of Conduct for the Garment Industry