The Emperor Has No Clothes: Garment Supply Chains in the Time of Pandemic (Issue III)
The third issue of “Emperor Has No Clothes” highlights the challenges that suppliers, in particular, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) face due to the Covid-19 lockdown measures and reduced business activities, and how these challenges translate into increased risk and burden of liability for garment workers.
This issue brings together discussions on the impact of, and response to, COVID-19 by suppliers and garment unions. The report not only makes a case for brands to ensure greater responsibility and accountability but also argues that any COVID-19 recovery program by governments in garment-producing countries needs to invest heavily in supporting ‘at-risk populations’ like garment workers who are experiencing a high degree of socio-economic marginalization, while at the same time supporting MSMEs that form the backbone of economies in the Global South.
The Emperor Has No Clothes: Garment Supply Chains in the Time of Pandemic (Issue II)
The second issue of the “Emperor Has No Clothes” lays special emphasis on the issues around wage payment, support mechanisms and layoffs of garment workers, specifically in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Most importantly, the report presents a typology of discriminatory practices in the labour market that account for the immediate impact of the pandemic on garment workers in terms of access to employment. These are built on existing social inequalities related to age, gender, religion, nature of employment, and wage levels, and generate new forms of discrimination based on spatial proximity to factories, and accentuate union-busting tactics that are direct or subtle, with or without the support of the State.
COVID-19 disaster has ravaged peoples, nations, and workers globally. It has starkly exposed the vulnerability of workers all around the world, more so in industries that are based on low wages and inhumane working conditions. The COVID -19 crisis requires our governments to serve vulnerable communities and the working poor and to bolster their confidence by being responsive, transparent and participatory. Instead, we see the rise of authoritarianism and undemocratic surveillance under the guise of safety and security. Governments, in collusion with business, are using the moment to concede to employers’ interests and to accelerate the passing of labour laws that downgrade and deny labour rights.
We stand for our unions and reaffirm our right to form unions and to democratically participate to shape our industry, society and state. We want a Living wage and have to struggle to win it!
Remember the Victims on the 7th Anniversary of the Rana Plaza Tragedy & Commit to Change the Global Garment Industry
April 24, 2020 marks seven years since the tragic Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh that killed 1134 workers and injured 2500 or more, in one of the deadliest industrial disasters in modern history. In this time of COVID-19 pandemic, when the world is re-thinking globalization, Rana Plaza is an important marker that holds many lessons for us. In these dire circumstances, it is imperative that the brands that appropriate billions in profits are made accountable for safe working conditions as well as the well-being of workers. The Bangladesh Accord holds lessons for the labor movement in this regard as it made lead firms enter enforceable legally binding agreements that publicly challenged corporate intransigence. The advances made by the Accord must be pushed further in ensuring better working conditions throughout supply chains, payment of living wages, and fostering unionization so as to uphold the interests of the working class.
Brands’ Responsibility in COVID-19 Humanitarian Crisis: Contribute to Garment Workers’ Relief
AFWA has been working with its trade union partners in Asia to provide relief to workers, to understand the immediate needs facing workers, and to formulate a demand to fashion brands who must take responsibility for workers’ financial welfare at a time of tremendous wage loss. Through consultation with trade unions, AFWA has evolved a concrete set of demands to brands.
The Emperor Has No Clothes : Garment Supply Chain in the Time of Pandemic ( Issue 1)
The first issue of the series ‘The Emperor Has No Clothes: Garment Supply Chain in the Time of Pandemic’ looks at how the COVID-19 epidemic has affected garment workers in four major textile and apparel production countries in Asia, namely Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. The report lays special emphasis on the impact of the pandemic and institutional responses in four dimensions, viz. wage disbursal, social security, migration, and healthcare.
AFWA Statement on Garment Worker’s Demands in the face of COVID -19 Crisis
AFWA released a statement on Garment Workers’ Demands in the face of COVID-19 Crisis. The statement looks into the responses of Global Supply Chain Production Countries to COVID-19 Crisis and also provides a charter of demands from garment workers, to the government, brands, and suppliers. The demands focus on immediate measures that should be taken to ensure the occupational health and safety of workers and as well as policies that should be implemented to support workers’ employment and incomes.
AFWA Public Statement on Deaths of Garment Workers in Nandan Denim Factory
AFWA released a statement on the death of garment workers due to a fire at the Nandan Garment Factory, at Gujarat, India. Nandan Denim supplies jeans, denim and other garments to more than 20 global brands including U.S. companies such as Target, Ann Taylor, Mango and Wrangler.
Asia Floor Wage Alliance supports the local trade unions and labour rights organizations’ holding global brands responsible for the egregious violations and the deaths of the workers.We demand that brands compensate for the death, injury and loss of employment resulting from this fire on the basis of international standards on living wage and on workers’ pain and suffering.
AFWA Step by Step approach to Prevent GBV-May-2019
The AFWA Safe Circle Approaches Brief introduces our approach to addressing GBV on garment production lines. Designed to complement existing trainings, the AFWA Safe Circle Approach involves potential “victims,” “bystanders,” and “perpetrators” in face-to-face, regular, small group engagement processes designed to address behavioral violence on the production line.
In September 2019, brands who are members of the ACT living wage initiative adopted a joint due diligence framework to ensure their purchasing practices facilitate the payment of a living wage, as set out in the ACT Memorandum of Understanding.
The AFWA Position on ACT offers AFWA’s assessment of the limitations of this initiative in truly delivering on its aim of achieving living wages.
Violence Against Women and Men in the World of Work: Executive Summary of New Research on Asian Garment Supply Chains and Recommendations for an ILO Convention, May 2018
This report contains the executive summary on our research on gender-based violence in GAP, H&M, and Walmart garment supplier factories in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka between February and May 2018. It also provides recommendations to address workplace violence and harassment.
Gender Based Violence in the GAP Garment Supply Chain: A Report to the ILO 2018
This report—including interviews with more than 215 workers employed in 21 factories that supply to GAP—documents the experiences of women garment workers at the base of Gap garment supply chains in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka.
Asia Floor Wage Alliance met on October 11-12, 2018 in Cambodia to kick off the second phase of its work — after completion of the first phase of ten years. This declaration focuses on the main outcomes of this meeting. It discusses the challenges facing Asian Garment Unions, Gender-Based Violence in Industrial Relations in Global Supply Chains and AFWA’s Structure for Phase II.
This report shed light on the the intensive labour exploitation and abuse faced by workers in H&M supply chains, in particular in Cambodia and India. This report is based upon 251 structured interviews conducted between August and October 2015 with garment workers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and the Delhi, National Capital Region (NCR), India.
This report sheds light on the persistent rights violations faced by precarious GAP supply chain workers in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India and Indonesia. This report is based upon 150 structured interviews conducted between August and October 2015 with garment workers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Bogor, Indonesia; and the Delhi, Naional Capital Region (NCR), India.
This report presents new research on violations of international labour standards in Walmart garment supplier factories. Information was collected through interviews and focus group discussions including 344 workers engaged in Walmart supply chains in Bangladesh, Cambodia and India.
Towards an Asia Floor Wage: A Global South Initiative for Garment Workers
This publication is the result of a collaborative effort between the Asia Floor Wage Alliance and the South Solidarity Initiative-ActionAid India towards exploring processes for making living wage a reality in the global supply chain.
New Findings on Conditions Across Walmart’s Garment Supplier Factories in Cambodia, India and Indonesia
Walmart is not just a retailer; it is the largest private employer in the world and dominates the global supply chains of nearly every consumer product. Such a large and complex supply infrastructure also means that Walmart is able to conceal the exploitation of the workers who create those thousands of products. This study has documented several heinous abuses by Walmart garment-supplier factories at the same time that the giant buyer expresses nothing but stony silence. Labour-rights activists and trade union leaders in Asia corroborate the fact that Walmart is notorious for being the most difficult large brand to communicate with.
In Asia alone, over 15 million people are employed in the garment industry and millions more are reliant on the industry for their wellbeing. AFWA and Clean Clothes Campaign collaborate on this report to look at the low wages being paid across six of the major garment producing countries in Asia – Cambodia, China, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. It also looks at the responsibilities of both state and global apparel brands and their suppliers in addressing poverty wages and the steps that must be taken immediately if the garment industry is to provide a decent life for those working within it.
This study on the Indian ready-made garment industry brings to light the prevailing dynamics with regard to wage and working conditions in this sector. On the basis of a field study conducted in the garment clusters of Gurgaon, Bangalore, and Tirupur, this study highlights the wage theft and forced labour practices pursued by businesses in this sector.
Asia Floor Wage and Global Industrial Collective Bargaining
This essay, published in International Journal of Labour Research, and co-authored by Anannya Bhattacharjee and Ashim Roy, explains the development of Asia Floor Wage as a cross-border living wage benchmark for garment workers in Asia and its significance for global brand bargaining.
Route Map to an Asia Floor Wage: 10 steps Brands and Retailers can take towards Implementing a Minimum Living Wage
AFWA and Clean Clothes Campaign collaborate on this publication to spell out ten steps global brands can take towards implementing a minimum living wage for garment workers in Asia, who produce most of their clothing.
Guiding Principles for Asia Floor Wage Pilot Projects
The Asia Floor Wage Alliance is open to conducting pilot projects in supplier factories, with buyers and multi-stakeholder initiatives, on living wage in order to practically test the implementation of the Asia Floor Wage. This document states the guiding principles for conducting AFW Pilot Projects.
The global economic crisis opens space for debate about the nature of globalization and the strengths and weaknesses of economic models. Economists and policymakers have been pushing a neoliberal policy agenda for the last several decades, through domestic regulations, international financial institutions, and trade agreements.
The garment industry has historically been, and continues to be, one of the most female-dominated industries in the world. It has the potential to lift millions of women and men out of poverty worldwide, and can advance gender equality. This publication states that this can only happen if the industry ensures decent quality jobs where a minimum living wage is provided.
This is the first discussion note prepared by the India Committee (New Trade Union Initiative, Cividep, Fedina, Jobs with Justice-India, SAVE, Center for Education and Communication, Stree Jagrution) on Asia Floor Wage. It incorporates comments received from consultations among groups in India and with groups from different parts of Asia with regard to an Asian Floor Level Wage Campaign in Garment Export Sector.
Garment Workers in India’s Lockdown: Semi-starvation and De-humanization Lead to Exodus
Report by Society for Labour and Development, India (June 2020)
Garment exporters in India, abandoned by fashion brands and with no support from central and state governments, in turn, abandoned their workers. Workers reported conditions of semi-starvation. They were also de-humanized, treated as bonded labor, denied means of travel and, some, even restrained from traveling. This has led to unprecedented collective bargaining by exodus.
Syrian Workers in Turkey’s Garment Industry – Looking Back, Moving Forward
Report by Clean Clothes Campaign, Turkey (November 2019)
The study provides an in-depth look at the problems facing Syrian refugees in the informal Turkish garment industry. It focuses on how refugee workers experience and navigate their precarious situations and sheds light on both the individual as well as the structural factors that enable and constrain refugee workers in their struggle for a decent life in Turkey.
Report by Clean Clothes Campaign, Turkey (July 2019)
This study looks into the harmful effects of potassium permanganate commonly used to bleach denim and give it a worn look. The report is meant to instigate further research by medical professionals, legislation that will regulate denim bleaching workers’ working conditions and improved monitoring of the garment industry.
Doing Dutch: a research into the state of pay for workers in garment factories in India working for Dutch fashion brands
Report by Clean Clothes Campaign, Neatherlands (September 2016)
This report is a study of the working conditions, living conditions and gender discrimination in ten garment factories in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, South India. The ten factories under this research supply to various Dutch brands including C&A, Coolcat, G-Star, The Sting (Mills Brothers, Hallinger), MEXX Europe, McGregor Fashions, Scotch & Soda, Suitsupply and WE Fashion
When “best” is far from good enough: Violations of workers’ rights at four of H&M ‘best-in-class’ suppliers in Cambodia
Report by Center for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (CENTRAL) and Future In Our Hands (September 2016)
The report looks into the working conditions in some of H&M’s Platinum and Gold Suppliers in Cambodia. Several types of labor violations were identified in each of the factories and it was noticed that general working conditions at the platinum suppliers were actually worse than the gold rated suppliers.
Report by International Labour Rights Forum (December 2015)
This 100-page report published by the International Labor Rights Forum in December 2015 and based on in-depth interviews with more than 70 garment workers, shows that workers will not be safe without a voice at work. 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 program to address the fire and structural hazards in Bangladeshi garment factories.
The Asia Floor Wage Alliance is an Asian labour-led global labour and social alliance across garment producing countries and consumer regions for addressing poverty level wages, gender discrimination, and freedom of association in global garment production networks.