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TUWB criticizes clothing firms

Aug '05
Often considered one of Africa's star pupils by the Bretton Woods Institutions, Uganda has been relatively stable since President Museveni came to power in 1986. This new Trade Union World Briefing (TUWB), however, shows that the effects of its economic development have barely been felt at all by workers. A vast majority of them remain trapped in the informal economy or in sectors where major violations of their rights persist, such as in the clothing industry.

This Trade Union World Briefing denounces the un-livable wages and inhuman working conditions in many textile companies. One of them, Tristar, which produces clothing for companies including the American giant Wal-Mart, is held up as a good example of Ugandan development by the highest authorities in the country, but is in fact a major perpetrator of workers' rights violations, the vast majority of which are women. According to the briefing, “injuries and humiliation are frequent occurrences and toilet breaks are timed. The country's highest authorities have their eyes closed”.

Other Ugandan garment factories are not any better. For example, at the Southern Range factory the workers condemn the working hours which force them to work sometimes more than thirty hours in a row in order to receive salaries no higher than one euro per day. These serious violations of workers' rights occurring in clothing factories have prompted the ITGLWF to demand that the US government withdraw Uganda from the list of countries able to profit from the beneficial tax regime under AGOA.

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