Asia’s top fashion brands face legal challenge to clothing workers’ rights

Asia’s largest clothing manufacturers are filing legal complaints against the world’s largest fashion brands, holding the global fashion industry legally liable for human rights abuses in countries where their clothing is available. Are made.

Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA)A Pan-Asian labor rights group says it is using legal challenges to argue that international law brands should be considered joint ventures as well as their suppliers under national law and that code 19 is an epidemic. Should be held accountable for alleged wage violations during

Two of these complaints have already been lodged with authorities in India and Sri Lanka, and further complaints are pending in Indonesia and Pakistan.

In India, AFWA and local labor unions have filed a legal complaint against H&M with the Labor Department in Bangalore. The complaint states that H&M should be held jointly responsible for alleged labor abuses at a supply factory in 2020, where it claims that the brand’s “workers’ There is complete economic control over housing, skills and employment. “

Similar lawsuits have been filed in Sri Lanka against Labor Strauss, Columbia Sporting Company, Exxon, DKNY and Tommy Hilfiger, claiming to be working as “shadow employers” at a supply factory in Katunaike Where employees lose their jobs and do not receive full pay.

The main claims and arguments in the legal complaints were based on extensive interviews and analysis conducted by AFWA. Launched this week for a new report.

The report looks at the effects of “wage theft” on six garment-producing countries – claiming that many of the world’s fashion brands are jointly responsible for wage cuts or “gaps”. There were, and as a result, poverty and misery. Millions of garment workers across Asia.

It argues that the actions of fashion brands during epidemics over the cancellation of billions of dollars worth of clothing orders have resulted in severe human losses directly to the workers in their supply chains.

Many workers lost their jobs, lost hours or were sent home without pay for months at a time. The pre-existing wages of workers working at the poverty level did not provide any kind of protective blanket, which made them more likely to lose their jobs and increase wages during epidemics.

The report also claims that although workers’ rights were protected under national law, most garments need to find other jobs, due to the risk of deprivation and less during epidemics. There was no access or authority to make up for lost wages. Enforcement of labor laws by the authorities.

A Sri Lankan worker, who did not want to be named, said he had failed to feed his children after spending hours in the summer of 2020.

“Our employer told us that the brands had canceled orders so we were forced to take a vacation and our hours were reduced,” he said. “Already, I was struggling to make ends meet on my wages and rely on overtime to cover my expenses, and so I realized I couldn’t afford enough food for this family. I was scared during the day, wondering how we would survive.

Asim Rai, an Indian trade unionist and member of the AFWA, said legal action was the only way to ensure that brands were forced to take advantage of workers’ rights.

“After this massacre of workers last year, we wanted to examine the possibility of holding brands accountable legally, rather than risking honorary damages,” he said.

“We believe that in some countries there is a very strong case for shared responsibility, but this has never been tested for brand and supplier. Our main argument is that the fact that fashion supply chains are Brands don’t just buy clothes, they determine and control every step of the garment making process and therefore should not continue to argue that the workers who make their clothes do not work for them. ۔

In a statement on the legal complaint, H&M said: “Although these are our suppliers who employ garment workers, we as a large company have a responsibility to work between trade unions and suppliers. Give your full support to play your part in good negotiations. If disputes arise, we will reach an agreement.

It also said that in the special case referred to in the legal complaint, the workers were paid “according to the legal rules”.

The Columbia Sportswear Company said it had found no evidence of a complaint to the Labor Commissioner. It said it did not cancel orders for open orders or reconsider product costs, adding: “We are confident that the strategy we have adopted will help our supply chain. Helps reduce the impact of global epidemics on partners and their employees. “

Essex also said it had not received a notice of legal complaint, and said it did not agree with the argument that it had a joint business relationship with its suppliers.

He said that in the litigation, all the workers of the designated supply factory were fully compensated as per the local labor laws and he did not cancel any order during the epidemic.

Levy Strauss declined to comment on the lawsuit, but said he accepted full responsibility for the orders issued before the outbreak of the epidemic and called on organizations supporting clothing workers. Has provided grants of over ڈالر 1 million.

Tommy Hilfiger’s owners, DKNY and PVH, did not respond to requests for comment.


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