Last year headlines where dominated by a major disaster taking place in a textile factory in Bangladesh. Suddenly the garment industry promised to do anything necessary to improve the poor working conditions. However, a recently published report by SOMO shows that little progress is made. Anyone buying clothes at stores such as Primark, C&A, Mothercare, Hanesbrands and Sainsbury's should know that these garments are made by women and children that are being treated as slaves. SOMO monitors the activities of multinationals since 1973 and publishes reports on the effects of their policies.
SOMO conducted research in five spinning mills in Tamil Nadu, which is a major hub in the global textile and knitwear industry. Their report shows that working weeks of 56 to 72 hours are common practice; sometimes with breaks as short as ten minutes a day. Many women and children have to live and sleep in small hotel rooms guarded and monitored by their employers.
Researcher Martje Theuws from SOMO: "Business efforts are failing to address labor rights violations effectively. Corporate auditing is not geared towards detecting forced labor and other major labor rights infringements. Moreover, there is a near complete lack of supply chain transparency. Local trade unions and labor groups are consistently ignored.”
The research was conducted by SOMO in collaboration with 'The India Committee of the Netherlands’ (ICN). The spinning mills studied are Best Cotton Mills, Jeyavishnu Spintex, Premier Mills, Sulochana Cotton Spinning Mills and Super Spinning Mills. The research is based on in-depth interviews with 150 workers combined with an analysis of corporate information and export data regarding the companies involved.
SOMO: “We calls upon all corporate actors along the global garment supply chain – from spinning mills to fashion brands – to be more transparent about their supplier base. They have to be more ambitious in detecting and addressing human rights violations by allowing trade unions and civil society organizations to play their specific roles. In addition, buying practices (including pricing) need to allow for decent working conditions so that girls and young women in Tamil Nadu no longer have to face appalling working conditions that are tantamount to forced labor.”
In addition, the researchers state that governments are not doing enough to protect the human rights as laid down by the UN.
For the full report click here: http://www.somo.nl/publications-nl/Publication_4110-nl?set_language=nl