Home / Knowledge / News / Union action needed to protect migrant workers in fashion industry
Union action needed to protect migrant workers in fashion industry
22
Dec '09
On the occasion of International Migrants Day, the Global Union representing workers in the clothing and footwear sectors has called on unions to step up their efforts to protect the rights of migrant workers employed in the industry.

Says Patrick Itschert, General Secretary of the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation: “The abuse of migrant workers, including trafficked migrant labour, is a growing problem in the fashion industry, with workers often paying labour brokers a hefty fee – sometimes as much as ten years' local minimum wage - in order to secure a job in Jordan, Malaysia, Mauritius or elsewhere.

“The fees often take the form of a loan which must then be repaid, with interest, from future earnings. Passports are withheld as security against the loan, and sometimes workers are charged additional fees if they want to change workplaces. They are typically housed in overcrowded dormitories and survive on substandard food.

“With deductions being made for their loans as well as for housing and food, workers are forced to work extremely long hours. Is it any wonder then many of these young migrant workers suffer from inadequate sleep and health disorders, including malnutrition. Without identity documents, owing money to brokers, tied to fixed contracts and far from home these workers are in reality bonded slaves.

“Today trafficked migrant workers are among those most badly affected by the economic crisis. Losing their jobs leaves them unable to pay off their debts, and they are sometimes left stranded, unable to return home, when the factories where they worked suddenly close down.

“Migrant garment workers are not found only in Amman, Kuala Lumpur or Port Louis. They are just as likely to be found in the backstreets of Barcelona, Manchester or Buenos Aires, where ruthless employers strive to undercut producers in low-wage countries.

“Earlier this year a Manchester sweatshop producing for high street brands was exposed for its exploitation of workers. The factory employed mostly illegal immigrants from Pakistan and Afghanistan who were earning a little more than half the minimum wage and working twelve hours a day, seven days a week. The factory was housed in an old Victorian mill and working conditions inside were more reminiscent of 1909 than 2009.

“Though some accuse migrant workers of taking local jobs and driving down wages, the reality is that they generally take jobs that no one else is available or willing to take. In Romania, for instance, wages in the industry are so low that local workers have abandoned the industry which now relies on an influx of migrant labour from China or Bangladesh.

“With many brands and retailers turning a blind eye to abuses in their supply chain, the goods made by these workers find their way to every high street and shopping mall in Europe and North America.


Must ReadView All

EU, Japan finalise Economic Partnership Agreement

Textiles | On 18th Dec 2017

EU, Japan finalise Economic Partnership Agreement

Building on the political agreement reached in principle during the...

WTO, ITC launch cotton portal to enhance transparency

Textiles | On 18th Dec 2017

WTO, ITC launch cotton portal to enhance transparency

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the International Trade Centre ...

India much behind China in containerised cargo capacity

Textiles | On 18th Dec 2017

India much behind China in containerised cargo capacity

India’s total containerised cargo capacity of 8.75 million...

Interviews View All

Sunil Rathore
Lacoste India

‘New vendor is welcome if he offers cost, quality and timely delivery’

Rahul Bhadani
Looksgud

Navigating through catalogues is a bit hasslesome

Sonia Agarwal
Whitenife

‘The terms eco-friendly and organic are common but everyone perceives them ...

Hardik Sanghvi

Idealin Fogging Systems has been engaged in designing and manufacturing...

Harsh Shah

Established in 1956 with a small beginning, Embee today manufactures a...

Urmil Arya

Sushila International, a well established textile organisation established ...

Kevin Nelson
TissueGen

Kevin Nelson, Chief Scientific Officer, TissueGen discusses the growing...

Marten Alkhagen
Swerea IVF AB

Marten Alkhagen, Senior Scientist - Nonwoven and Technical Textiles of...

Johan Berlin
InvestKonsult Sweden AB

Investkonsult Sweden AB has been buying and selling second-hand textile...

Jay Ramrakhiani
Occasions Elegance Wear

It is believed that by early 19th century, Varanasi weavers had moved away ...

Ritu Kumar
Label Ritu Kumar

‘Classics will return’ "There are a lot of people wearing western clothes ...

Divvya and Nidhhi Gambhir
Walnut

<b>Divvya and Nidhhi Gambhir</b> started their career with the launch of...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


editorial@fibre2fashion.com

Letter To Editor






(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies





SEARCH

December 2017

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.

news category


Related Categories:

Planning to Take the Leap towards
Sustainability?

Do you see sustainability as a route to business growth?

Yes No

Do you think the sustainability space has the needed tools and resources available for a business to lead change?

Yes No

Active Poll

Do you see sustainability as a route to business growth?

Yes
68.1%
No
13.8%
Skip
18.1%

Total Votes: 94

Do you think adopting a sustainable approach will be a profitable move for your business?

Yes No

Active Poll

Do you think the sustainability space has the needed tools and resources available for a business to lead change?

Yes
62.8%
No
29.8%
Skip
7.4%

Total Votes: 94

Do you want the world to know about your sustainability journey and your business’ environmental footprint?

Yes No

Active Poll

Do you think adopting a sustainable approach will be a profitable move for your business?

Yes
87.2%
No
9.6%
Skip
3.2%

Total Votes: 94

Thanks for your valuable feedback. Claim your free latest sustainability e-book.

Active Poll

Do you want the world to know about your sustainability journey and your business’ environmental footprint?

Yes
81.9%
No
8.5%
Skip
9.6%

Total Votes: 94


E-News Insight
Subscribe Today and Get the
Latest News Update in Your Mail Box.
Advanced Search