In a hard-hitting new research report, Clean Clothes Campaign shows that H&M, Nike and Primark have driven factory workers in their supply chains in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Indonesia into desperation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interviews conducted with 49 garment workers in these countries demonstrate that the Coronavirus-induced crisis continues to have a devastating impact on the wages, working conditions, and labour rights of garment workers.
Over half of the workers interviewed for the report, “Breaking Point: wage theft, violence and excessive workloads are pushing garment workers to breaking point during the pandemic”, indicated to the researchers that they experienced wage cuts during the pandemic. Almost 70% of the interviewed workers have endured periods in which they were not paid their normal, pre-pandemic wages. All of these workers were surviving on poverty wages before the pandemic, and now it has become even harder for them to make ends meet. The research shows that this is happening to workers in all three brands’ supply chains.
This short report is designed as a guide to the Fashion Checker tool (FashionChecker.org) and highlights what is missing in regards to brand commitments and practices in paying a living wage to workers in their supply chains. The report is based on research undertaken in 2019 and early 2020.
Despite sweeping promises made by brands, the findings detailed in the report reveal the stark contrast between claims of fashion brands and the reality faced by workers in production countries.
Millions of garment workers around the world have not received their regular wages, or have not been paid at all, for months since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, shows a new report by Clean Clothes Campaign, launched today.
The report analyses nonpayment of wages to garment workers during the months of March, April and May resulting from order cancellations by apparel brands, unpaid leave, and state-sanctioned wage cuts during the COVID-19 crisis. Based on a review of news reports and information from worker organisations, with the support of the Worker Rights Consortium, we estimate that across South and Southeast Asia garment workers have received 38% less than their regular income. In some regions in India, this number rises above 50%.
Emerging evidence indicates that conditions in Leicester’s factories, primarily producing for Boohoo, are putting workers at risk of COVID-19 infections and fatalities.
Factories in Leicester are no stranger to illegal working conditions, with numerous reports over the years showing low pay – as little as £3 – and blatant intimidation of vulnerable workers. Now however, emerging evidence indicates that conditions in Leicester’s factories, primarily producing for Boohoo, are putting workers at risk of COVID-19 infection and fatality as some factories have remained open for production during the lockdown, whilst others are now re-opening.
Published June 2020.
The economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic are colossal in scale and global in scope. The world’s wealthy countries are poised to spend trillions of dollars to shore up the income of their workers and to rescue their corporations. A vital question remains unanswered: who is going to rescue the workers who toil in the global supply chains of many of those corporations? These workers, like ones who make the clothes and shoes we wear, are among the hardest hit by the economic catastrophe of Covid-19.
Published: March 2020