Great to see this important new report on exploitation in the Indian leather industry from India Committee of the Netherlands recognise that female homeworkers are ‘among the most precarious workers … (facing) insecure and unprotected work, poverty wages and unsafe working conditions.’ The report also usefully summarises responses from major footwear retailers.
We welcome this new report from the Change your Shoes Campaign, highlighting the significant role that homeworking plays in the shoe industry in Indonesia. Homeworking is a really important form of work that enables women across the world to earn a living, but there are no excuses for poor labour practices that exploit these workers.
Workers in Bangladesh’s garment industry went on strike in December calling for increases to the minimum wage. Instead of agreeing to pay a living wage, or even to bring forward a wage review, factory owners brought unsubstantiated criminal charges against at dozens of labor leaders and garment workers.
At least 24 activists and workers have already been arrested and are being held in police custody where they have been denied bail. Some have received threats of torture or death. Over 1500 workers have been reportedly dismissed from their jobs and potentially blacklisted from future garment work.
Please sign the petition to call on brands whose clothes are made at the factories behind the complaints to take immediate action for the dismissal of the falsified charges and the release of the jailed activists and workers! This petition will be delivered to H&M, Gap Inc (owns Banana Republic and Old Navy), C&A, Inditex (owns Zara and Bershka), and VF (owns 30 brands including North Face, Jansport, and Lee), which source from the factories pressing the charges.
An undercover investigation for Dispatches (Channel 4) has revealed garment workers in Leicester earning less than half the minimum wage. The workers were working on clothing for high street brands including River Island and New Look, and internet retailers BooHoo and MissGuided. Serious fire safety risks were also identified in one of the factories.
The clothing brands response is that they were unaware their clothing was being made in these factories. If companies do not know what is happening in their supply chain here in the UK, then how can we have any confidence in their pledges to protect workers rights in their supply chains that stretch across the globe?
Moreover, the reason the workers in these factories are paid so little is that brands are demanding quick cheap clothing to meet the demands of ‘fast fashion.’ The big brands need to consider how their own practices and demands place pressure on workers, as well as getting to grips with how companies making clothes for them treat their workers.
Twenty-two human and labour rights organisations from around the world are calling on international clothing brands to press for the release of unjustly imprisoned Bangladeshi union leaders and worker rights advocates and the reinstatement of 1,500 workers suspended or terminated for taking part in a wage strike.
In a joint-letter to more than 60 brands and retailers, the human and labour rights organisations call on the companies to intervene with the Bangladeshi government to gain the release of the imprisoned labour leaders, and to urge their suppliers to drop charges against them and reinstate any workers suspended or terminated for participating in the strike.