Exploitation victims urge for a due binding legislation

Sign the petition for the European Commission at  ww.dignitex.org

THE VICTIMS OF EXPLOITATION DEMAND NEW LEGISLATION FOR THE TEXTILE INDUSTRY

The production chain of the textile industry leaves a trail of victims of exploitation in every stage of the manufacturing process: from the harvest of cotton in the hands of children in Uzbekistan, to the toxic dyeing of fabric in Bangladesh and the manufacturing of clothing under slavery conditions in Brazil.
The constant search for lower prices and shorter delivery dates results in exploitation, slavery or death for men, women and children. Textile multinationals such as H&M, Mango, Inditex or El Corte Inglés have often been reported for their employees working conditions. The companies repeatedly claim that responsibility ultimately lies in the hands of their outsourced
suppliers and current legislation sometimes excludes them from liability.
In April 2017, the European Parliament approved a report calling upon the European Commission to implement new, mandatory legislation ensuring that textile multinationals are responsible for all human rights violations in the manufacturing chain, and also in their subsidiaries and suppliers.
In solidarity with the victims of exploitation in the textile industry and in support of their fights, we believe this is a historical landmark to take steps towards a world where every worker´s rights are respected.
It is for this reason that we demand of the European Commission and our political representatives that they effectively implement the European Parliament´s petition and that a new binding legislation guaranteeing human rights in the textile industry´s production chain is introduced as soon as possible.

Bangladesh court jails Rana Plaza owner for three years for graft

A Bangladesh court on Tuesday jailed the Rana Plaza owner for three years for graft, the first of many charges laid against him after the garment factory complex collapsed in 2013 and killed more than 1,130 people.

Sohel Rana was given the maximum three-year sentence by a special court in Dhaka for failing to declare his personal wealth to Bangladesh’s anti-graft commission, one of a series of charges brought after the disaster.

“This is the first time he has been convicted and jailed,” said prosecutor Salahuddin Eskander.

Continue reading “Bangladesh court jails Rana Plaza owner for three years for graft”

Machines

Director Rahul Jain presents an intimate, observantly portrayal of the rhythm of life and work in a gigantic textile factory in Gujarat, India. Moving through the corridors and bowels of the enormous and disorientating structure, the camera takes the viewer on a journey to a place of dehumanising physical labor and intense hardship, provoking cause for thought about persistent pre-industrial working conditions and the huge divide between first world and developing countries. Since the 1960s the area of Sachin in western India has undergone unprecedented, unregulated industrialisation, exemplified in its numerous textile factories. MACHINES portraits only one of these factories, while at the same time representing the thousands of labourers working, living and suffering in an environment they can’t escape without unity. With strong visual language, memorable images and carefully selected interviews of the workers themselves, Jain tells a story of inequality and oppression, humans and machines.

To the good guys.

Spain seems divided recently because of the different opinions regarding the donations of oncological equipment valued at euros 320 million by the Amancio Ortega Foundation. Some people glorify the leading figure of the founder of Zara to the altars of holiness, or simply believe that being grateful is being a good guy.  But there are also those who criticize the derisory nature of the donation (compared to his fortune), the tax avoidance of Ortega’s business industry or the scandals of child slavery and labor exploitation found in the INDITEX production chain.

Continue reading “To the good guys.”

Dozens of Bangladesh factories close as workers strike

Dozens of garment factories in Bangladesh shut down Thursday as a workers’ strike escalated, in a move that could hit supplies to top Western retailers during the busy holiday season.

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) closed 55 factories in a suburb on the outskirts of Dhaka, association president Siddikur Rahman said, after police arrested at least seven people who were leading the strike. “Those (factories) will remain closed until the government says it is safe to reopen them,” Rahman told AFP.

Workers went on strike nine days ago to protest the firing of 121 colleagues and soon added a pay hike to their list of demands. The protest escalated earlier this week when police fired rubber pellets, injuring 10 demonstrators according to labour leader Taslima Akhter. Continue reading “Dozens of Bangladesh factories close as workers strike”

[BCC] Child refugees in Turkey making clothes for UK shops

Children working in factory

Syrian refugee children have been making clothes for British shoppers, an undercover BBC investigation has found.

Panorama investigated factories in Turkey and found children had been working on clothes for Marks and Spencer and the online retailer Asos.

Adult refugees were also found working illegally on Zara and Mango jeans.

All the brands say they carefully monitor their supply chains and do not tolerate the exploitation of refugees or children.

Marks and Spencer says its inspections have not found a single Syrian refugee working in its supply chain in Turkey.

But Panorama found seven Syrians working in one of the British retailer’s main factories. The refugees often earned little more than a pound an hour – well below the Turkish minimum wage. They were employed through a middleman who paid them in cash on the street.

‘Unacceptable’

One of the refugees told Panorama they were poorly treated at the factory. He said: “If anything happens to a Syrian, they will throw him away like a piece of cloth.”

Marks and Spencer labels
Marks and Spencer labels from one factory shown to the Panorama team

The youngest worker was 15 years old and he was working more than 12 hours a day ironing clothes before they were shipped to the UK.

A spokesperson for Marks and Spencer said the programme’s findings were “extremely serious” and “unacceptable to M&S”. It is offering permanent legal employment to any Syrians who were employed in the factory.

“Ethical trading is fundamental to M&S. All of our suppliers are contractually required to comply with our Global Sourcing Principles, which cover what we expect and require of them and their treatment of workers.

“We do not tolerate such breaches of these principles and we will do all we can to ensure that this does not happen again.”

But critics say the retailers are not doing enough to stop the problems highlighted by Panorama.

Danielle McMullan, from the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, says the brands need to understand that they are responsible: “It’s not enough to say we didn’t know about this, it’s not our fault.

“They have a responsibility to monitor and to understand where their clothes are being made and what conditions they are being made in.”

‘Pitiful wages’

Many clothes are now made in Turkey because it is close to Europe and used to dealing with last-minute orders. This allows retailers to get new designs into shops more quickly than if they are made elsewhere.

But Turkey is a challenging place to do business. Concerns are rising about the exploitation of workers after the arrival of almost three million Syrian refugees.

Asos label on clothes
A sample for the online retailer Asos found in one back-street factory

Most of the refugees do not have work permits and many of them are working illegally in the garment industry.

Panorama reporter Darragh MacIntyre spoke to dozens of Syrian workers who felt they were being exploited. He said: “They speak of pitiful wages and terrible working conditions. They know they are being exploited but they know they can do nothing about it.”

In one back-street workshop in Istanbul, the programme team found several Syrian children hard at work. They also discovered an Asos sample in the office.

Asos accepts its clothes were made in the factory, but says it is not an approved factory. The company has since inspected and found 11 Syrian adults and three Syrian children under 16 at work.

Hazardous chemicals

Asos says the children will be financially supported so they can return to school and the adult refugees will be paid a wage until they have been found legal work. A spokesperson for the company said: “We have implemented these remediation programmes despite the fact that this factory has nothing to do with Asos.”

Men working on jeans in a garment factory
This factory had Syrian refugees working on Mango and Zara jeans

The investigation also found Syrian refugees working 12-hour days in a factory that was distressing jeans for Mango and Zara.

The refugees were involved in spraying hazardous chemicals to bleach the jeans, but most of the workers did not even have a basic face mask.

Mango says that the factory was working as a sub-contractor without its knowledge. Its subsequent inspection did not find any Syrian workers and found “good conditions except for some personal safety measures”.

Zara’s parent company, Inditex, says its factory inspections are a “highly effective way of monitoring and improving conditions”. It had already found significant non-compliance in an audit in June and had given the factory until December to make the necessary improvements.

laundry area of Istanbul
The heavily polluted laundry area of Istanbul employs many refugees from Syria

In another Istanbul factory, Panorama found Syrian adults at work alongside Turkish children as young as 10.

The owner said he had been working for Next and showed the undercover team a set of Next pyjamas that he said the factory had helped produce.

Next says the pyjamas were actually made by another supplier and the pyjamas we saw may have been a sample. It says samples circulate widely and that the presence of a sample in a factory does not mean it was made there.

Source: BBC