We have just published a Biannual Report covering our work in 2017 and 2018. To find out more about our key areas of work and our plans for the future you can read the full document in our Resources section.
Great to see our friend and colleague Jane Tate’s contribution to the campaign for homeworkers’ rights reported in the UK’s Guardian newspaper.
Thanks to all Jane’s friends and colleagues past and present who worked together to put this Obituary together.
We miss her support and inspiration and are committed to continuing her work in 2019!
Jane Tate, who with others founded HWW in 1999, died recently, at her home in Leeds, after a long illness.
She first encountered homeworkers when working as an Outreach worker in West Yorkshire during the 1980s, making contact with workers who were not members of trade unions, usually in small and scattered workplaces, to inform them of their employment rights.
Jane’s patient yet determined enquiries led to the discovery of thousands of women working at home —some sewing garments, but many also involved in printing, engineering, electronics or clerical work.
Most were employed completely informally, and for very low wages, and often had irregular work, with no rights to sick pay, holiday pay or severance pay.
She subsequently made contact with activists across Europe who were uncovering the expansion of homeworking during the 1990s, as manufacturers sought more flexible forms of employment.
During this time, Jane also made links with organisations in India, building relationships with many researchers and activists working on gender and labour rights issues.
In more recent years Jane’s work on international homeworking issues focussed on the global leather footwear industry, where homeworkers play a key role in the hand stitching of leather uppers.
For more information about Jane’s work, please contact Lucy (lucy(at)homeworkersww.org.uk).
HWW is proud to be publishing two new Resources on Homeworking within the Leather Footwear Sector within South India.
The first, Good Employment for Homeworkers, is a summary report, published in collaboration with Pentland Brands, describes the first phase of our on-going project tracing some of the homeworkers within their leather footwear supply chain, whilst the second, Recognition for women homeworkers: Responding to Homeworking in Leather Footwear, provides a more detailed look at our recent work with homeworkers in Ambur in Tamil Nadu, in partnership with Cividep.
Homeworkers Worldwide (HWW) wishes to respond to the statement on the ETI website concerning the complaint made against two member companies of the ETI and the possibility of forced or bonded in their supply chains in Tamil Nadu, India.
Although we could make a more detailed analysis of the complaint process, at this point we want to focus on two key inaccuracies in the statement made by the ETI.
Firstly: the original complaint made in May 2015 was about two separate supply chains. HWW’s research at two garment factories showed evidence of conditions amounting to forced labour for hostel workers at these factories which supplied a number of UK retailers. The India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) research showed evidence of forced or bonded labour in a mill which was part of the supply chain of a different retailer. While some of the other retailers had responded to our concerns, we made a complaint to the ETI about two retailers, members of the ETI, who had not responded. Neither HWW nor ICN had evidence of conditions in the spinning mill mentioned in the ETI statement.
Secondly: HWW did not agree that a satisfactory solution was found to resolve the complaint. Given that there were disagreements about the presence of forced or bonded labour in both supply chains concerned, an independent investigation was needed, in the opinion of HWW, to establish the facts of the matter. This was discussed at some length and a proposal made for how this should be carried out. In spite of these discussions, in the end there was no agreement on the need for this investigation. HWW agreed to close the complaint process, which had already taken nearly two years, because we did not see a solution coming from it. Although we welcomed the participation of the companies concerned in the Tamil Nadu working group of the ETI, we did not consider this adequate to addressing the problem.