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Apparel retailers to tout 'social responsibility' codes – USAS
12
Mar '10
Wal-Mart, Macy's, H&M Silent as Indian Suppliers Steal Millions from Workers Who Sew Their Apparel.

Leading Anti-Sweatshop Group Calls on Retailers to Enforce Their “Social Responsibility” Codes to End Wage Theft in Indian Factories.

Cites New Report Documenting Non-Payment of the Minimum Wage to 125,000 Workers Sewing Clothes for Hypocritical Retailers.

Major US retailers were called out for looking the other way while their suppliers in India steal a million dollars a month from some of the most poorly paid workers in the world.

The national federation of university-based labor rights organizations, United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), cited a just-released study exposing the emptiness of the apparel industry's “corporate social responsibility” pledges. According to the report by the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), a non-profit, university-based labor rights monitoring organization with 186 college and university affiliates, factories in Bangalore that make clothes for Wal-Mart, Macy's, Gap, H&M and other industry leaders have refused to pay the legal minimum wage to roughly 125,000 workers since the minimum was increased one year ago. The report says the actions of the factories have cost the affected workers more than a month's pay to date and have cost the city's apparel workforce as a whole more than $10 million. The WRC reports that brands and retailers are fully aware of their suppliers' actions.

USAS called on all of the implicated brands and retailers to ensure that the workers are immediately paid the money they are owed and circulated excerpts from the labor rights codes of the implicated brands and retailers – all demonstrating an unequivocal pledge to ensure supplier compliance with minimum wage laws.

“From Nike to Gap to Walmart, these companies endlessly tout their supposed commitment to 'social responsibility' and 'sustainability.' As this latest outrage amply demonstrates, the only thing these companies are 'sustaining' is sweatshop conditions” said USAS International Campaigns Coordinator Rod Palmquist.

“These companies have known for a year that their suppliers are violating the law and the companies' own self-proclaimed labor codes. They've looked the other way while their business partners rob workers blind. Worse: the brands and retailers benefit from this thievery, in the form of lower labor costs and lower prices from the suppliers. It's what they call in the business world a 'win-win.' You couldn't ask for a clearer demonstration that the industry's vaunted 'social responsibility' programs are a global public relations scam.” he added.

UNITED STUDENTS AGAINST SWEATSHOPS


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