25.09.2020 Views

COVID-19 Snapshots

Millions of workers in garment supply chains world-wide have not been paid their full wages during the pandemic or have lost their jobs without adequate financial compensation. We call upon brands to take responsibility for the workers that make their clothes and ensure that workers are paid what they are owed. Read more about how workers in global supply chains, especially those of H&M, Primark, and Nike, have been affected in the livelihood by the pandemic and join us in asking brands: Do you #PayYourWorkers?

Millions of workers in garment supply chains world-wide have not been paid their full wages during the pandemic or have lost their jobs without adequate financial compensation. We call upon brands to take responsibility for the workers that make their clothes and ensure that workers are paid what they are owed. Read more about how workers in global supply chains, especially those of H&M, Primark, and Nike, have been affected in the livelihood by the pandemic and join us in asking brands: Do you #PayYourWorkers?

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What does the COVID-19

wage gap mean for

garment workers?


Content

#PayYourWorkers

live-blog statistics

h&m

primark

nike

UN(DER)PAID IN THE PANDEMIC

national struggle in cambodia

covid-19 strikes everywhere


#PayYourWorkers

Disruption of supply chains, cancellations of orders, and often hastily

imposed lockdowns in garment producing countries have gravely

impacted garment workers’ livelihoods.

With poverty wages being the norm in the garment industry, millions of

women workers were already struggling to feed their families, and

deeply in debt.

While thousands of factories were closed for weeks or even months

during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the workers received only a

portion of their regular wages, if they were paid at all.


#PayYourWorkers

Our research published in August shows that in some countries

workers received less than 25% of their regular wages in April and

workers globally may have an estimated shortfall of income between 3.2

and 5.8 billion USD during the first three months of the pandemic.

Apparel brands and retailers need to do two things to

ensure the workers who make their clothes are paid

during and beyond this crisis:

1. #PayUp in full on orders placed before the pandemic.

2. #PayYourWorkers : Make sure all workers are paid

their regular income during the pandemic by committing

to the wage assurance and joining a severance guarantee

fund.


#PayYourWorkers

The #PayUp campaign has swayed over twenty brands to commit to

paying for their orders that were in production at the start of the

pandemic. Many of these brands retreated from the order

cancellations they had initially imposed on their suppliers, meaning

that workers could at least be paid some of what they were owed.

It's time for brands to take the next step. We have asked them kindly

since June. What are brands waiting for? Workers can't wait.

H&M, Primark, and Nike, the brands featured in this report, are some

of the most regularly named supply chains when workers raise their

voice about not being paid or facing dismissal. Workers also name

many other apparel brands and retailers that have left workers unpaid

in their supply chains, including Bestseller (Jack & Jones), Next,

Arcadia (Topshop) and Inditex (Zara).

To hold brands accountable, we all need to show that it is unacceptable

that workers are left unpaid during the pandemic. It's time for action.


#PayYourWorkers

Beyond wages: Union busting

The growing economic insecurity caused by the pandemic

means that union-busting is on the rise. Union members face

discrimination and retaliation in many factories, and a lot of

these trade unionists have been dismissed because they raise

concerns over non-payment of wages, lack of proper

implementation of social distancing and sanitation, or, simply,

because this crisis is as good a chance as any to get rid of a

union. Often fired workers will not receive the severance they

are legally owed and they have little chance to find a new job

quickly in the current job market, leaving them penniless.


#PayYourWorkers

Shutterstock/Sk Hasan Ali

Beyond wages: Safety

Many workers have to work in unsafe factories. Where the

improper use or storage of hazardous chemicals and unsafe

factory buildings were a problem before the pandemic,

cramped working conditions and a lack of hygienic facilities

can make factories dangerous places to be during the

pandemic. Brands need to protect their workers.

Here is a full list of what brands should do.


#PayYourWorkers

“Brands and retailers must take swift action to ensure that

the workers who enabled their profits receive

the wages they are owed. As brands are responsible for

structural inequalities in supply chains that have left garment

workers in destitution, each brand must publicly commit to

taking responsibility for workers’ wages. Brands should then

work together to establish funds and take out loans if

necessary to cover workers’ wages.”

Labour Education Foundation Director Khalid Mahmood from

Pakistan in an op-ed for Reuters


Before the pandemic

hit, brands already

cut down on prices,

leaving workers with

poverty wages.

During the lockdowns

they cancelled

orders, leaving

workers unpaid.

Still, many workers

are underpaid as

brands are cautious in

placing orders.

Workers are left unpaid


live-blog statistics

Clean Clothes Campaign has collected reports from the media and our

network on how the pandemic influenced garment workers world-wide.

The wave of order cancellations from March onwards, when most of the

headquarter countries started going into lockdown, severely exacerbated

the already dire situation of garment workers.

The live-blog that we have continuously updated since 17 March provides

snapshots of the implications of the pandemic and primarily contains

information from the regions where our network is the strongest.


live-blog statistics

COVID-19

related

labour

violation

cases in the

garment

industry

The factory-level violations reported in our live-blog form the tip of an

iceberg of cases that have not reached us - because workers were

afraid to speak up, unaware who to reach out to, or the media failed to

pick up their case.

In the first six months of the pandemic - we took a sample from 17

March to 5 September - we noted 193 cases of worker rights

violations.


live-blog statistics

The most frequently reported issue was non-payment of wages. Among

72 such cases reported on the live-blog H&M, C&A, Next, Arcadia

(Topshop), PVH (Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger), and Primark were named

most often.

This shows that the ongoing responsibility of brands extends beyond

the payment of orders: three of these brands - H&M, PVH, and Next -

already indicated in March and April that they would pay for all orders

despite their earlier cancellations. Nevertheless, workers in their supply

chains were left without an income during the pandemic.

Workers need an assurance that they will be paid by the brands

wielding the power over the supply chain.


live-blog statistics

Workers who are not paid might still retain their jobs for the future,

but in many cases workers are simply laid off en masse, either

because factories are bankrupt, to keep from paying mandatory

bonuses, or to get rid of unwanted workers such as union members.

In times of severely shrinking employment opportunities, in countries

where unemployment insurance or other forms of social safety nets

are absent, dismissal often means hunger.


live-blog statistics

Major brands' rights violations

during COVID-19

The live-blog gives valuable insights into which labour rights violations

started to spike during the pandemic:

non-payment of wages, mass dismissals, disregard of health and safety,

and union busting. It also shows which brands kept on being named

over and over again, they include H&M and Primark. One of the supply

chains where workers organised most because they were affected en

masse, is Nike.


live-blog statistics

The large majority of these workers will not have access to the

severance payments they are legally entitled to, as these should be

paid by the employer, who often initiated the dismissals out of

financial hardship. Enforcement of this mandatory pay is also

generally lacking.

In the cases of mass-dismissal and non-payment of severance reported

in our live-blog during this period, H&M, Inditex (Zara), Bestseller

(Vero Moda), Mango, C&A, and PVH were named most often.


live-blog statistics

A breakdown of worker rights violations at H&M, Primark

and Nike reported to the live-blog.


h&m

When we have heard about cases of non-payment of wages or

mass-dismissal during the pandemic, the brand most often

mentioned is H&M: one of the biggest fast fashion brands in the

world. H&M paid up on orders at an early stage but has forgotten

that this is not enough to ensure that workers receive their full

regular wage during the pandemic.


h&m - WINDY

Garment workers have held a symbolic hunger strike calling for the

reinstatement of workers in the Windy Group, which supplies to H&M

and Zara. Three thousand workers have been retrenched in the three

only unionised factories of the Windy Group. When workers from

Saybolt Tex Ltd factory tried to engage in union activities, all 1600

workers were retrenched by management. At Windy Wet & Dry Process

Ltd., 200 workers were dismissed after submitting union papers for

registration to the Labour Ministry. At Tanaz Fashion Ltd., 1200

workers were dismissed after starting to unite in order to form a union.


h&m - WINDY

These workers were not only denied their right to organise and speak

out, they also failed to receive their legally owed wages and severance.

In Saybold Tex, workers received 60% of their April wages from a

government fund, however, since factories are not legally entitled to

government incentive if they lay off workers, no full wages have been

paid since. The retrenched workers also failed to receive the

compensation they were legally owed. In Tanaz Fashion, workers

received only 60% of their May salary and did not receive full

compensation upon retrenchment.


h&m - WINDY

"H&M and Zara supplier WINDY group victimized

3000 garment workers by illegal factory closure

and retrenchment during this Corona crisis. They

even did not pay the legal compensation. These

3000 workers are now unemployed, they will have

trouble finding a new job and are facing hunger."

Amirul Haque Amin, President of the National

Garment Workers federation


H&M has said that:

“Due to the lockdown in Bangladesh, as well as the drop in customer

demand that fashion brands and buyers have experienced as a result

of COVID-19, the supplier you refer to has partially closed down two

units that produce for, among others, H&M Group. All workers

affected by the layoffs have been compensated in accordance with

national legislation and agreements with trade unions.”

We want to know from H&M - What are you doing to ensure

justice for these workers?

Fazlur Rahman, aged 35.

Tanaz Fashion.

Fired.

He borrows money from

colleagues who still have their

jobs to support his family with

two children.

Who is affected?

h&m - WINDY


h&m - WINDY

Who is affected?

Taslima Begum, aged 25.

Saybolt Tex.

Fired.

She used to work up to 19

hours per day to increase her

wage of 8000 BDT (94 USD) to

14,500 BDT (171 USD)

a month to support her

mother and son living in the

countryside.

via Dagens Nyheter


h&m - ECC II

A case of mass dismissal in India grabbed public attention when

a video of protesting workers went viral in June 2020.

Garment workers from the Euro Clothing Company II factory, owned by

Gokaldas Exports, were demonstrating outside the factory daily,

following a surprise announcement on 6 June that all 1,200 workers of

the unionised factory would be laid off as of 8 June, without legally

required government approval. This happened despite the fact that

this factory solely supplied H&M, a brand that had committed to

paying suppliers in full for orders completed or in production.

Image via New Trade Union Initiative


h&m - WINDY

“They did not even give us

notice.

They told us they’ve stopped

receiving orders from H&M.”

Kumar (Worker at ECC II)

via VICE News


h&m - ECC II

The union had become a nuisance for the factory owners as it

challenged the underpayment of workers during the pandemic. When

the factory reopened after the lockdown in May, workers who were

able to return to the factory to work were only paid 50% of their

already poverty-level wages.

Those who had to stay at home, because public transportation

remained suspended following the government declared nationwide

lockdown, received nothing at all. After the closure of the factory in

June and the start of the protest, the management has indicated that

it will only pay severance to the workers who agree to resign.


h&m - WINDY

“I have sweated here for the past 10 years

for 348 rupees [$4.60] day.

They wanted to get rid of the union for a

long time, and now they’re using COVID-19 as

an excuse.”

Padma - Union Leader and Worker at ECC II

via Thomson Reuters Foundation


"Two factory officials came to a

worker's residence in

Pandavapura coercing them to

resign, saying that the factory will

not open again. They had lists of

details of other workers who were

in the unit."

h&m - WINDY

Jayaram KR, from the Garment and Textile

Workers Union (GATWU)

via The News Minute.


h&m - ecc ii

“We are living on borrowed money. We

have been unable to get other jobs

because of the coronavirus pandemic. We

have to borrow money to pay our rent and

feed our children.”

Lakshmamma (Sewing operator at ECC II)

via The News Minute


h&m - ECC II

H&M has officially said that the company was in dialogue with the

union and the management of Euro Clothing. In the meantime,

however, factory officials intimidated workers, successfully coercing

them to resign and defaming the unions involved.

What is H&M doing to make sure workers are paid and reinstated?


h&m - ecc ii

“We are now losing our hopes. I am

depending only on this job. My family

[runs] on my earnings. From April I

am getting only half salary, it’s so

difficult.”

Sobha - Secing operator at ECC II

via Eco-Age


primark

Primark tried to dodge the responsibility to pay for orders by

promising a wage fund. Only months later did the company finally

commit to paying its suppliers in full. Now we want to know, can

Primark prove that the workers who sew its clothes actually

received their full regular wages during factory closures?


primark - mass protests in

bangladesh

Image: Workers block a

highway on 13 April 2020

during a wage protest. These

are not the same workers as

mentioned below.

Shutterstock/Sk Hasan Ali.

In April and May, workers in Bangladesh took to the streets and

blocked highways to protest the government's decision that factories

would have to pay workers only 60-65% of their wages.

On 9 and 10 May, around 4,000 workers from Primark suppliers Doreen

Apparels Ltd and Doreen Garments Ltd factories in Dhaka, blocked a

highway demanding their full April wage. Workers urged that the

factories reopen, after they were closed for an indefinite period,

hoping that that would mean they could earn their full salaries again.

The workers withdrew when management assured that the factories

would open soon.


primark - mass protests

“From the first week of March, our line-in charge said,

the situation is not good in China, the factory cannot

import raw materials, the buyers are not interested to

order anymore and even they want to cancel the order

we already have done. We were in fear from then on. ...

On March 25, the factory management called 10

operators of the cutting section along with me to the

admin office after lunch. When I saw the bundles of

money on the table, I understood we are going to

being dismissed..."

A garment worker in a Primark supplier factory

in Bangladesh


primark - mass protests

“The officer said that the factory cannot keep you

because of lack of the orders. So, we have to

dismiss non-permanent workers like you people.

... We requested them and told, if we lost the job

how we will survive, what we will eat, how we will

pay house rent? But the officer replied, we

cannot do anything, we cannot afford to keep you

in work anymore. ... The management gave me

11,453 BDT [134 USD] in total, and told me not to

come back.”

A garment worker in a Primark supplier factory

in Bangladesh


Image: Workers block a

highway on 15 April 2020

during a wage protest. These

are not the same workers as

mentioned below.

Shutterstock/Sk Hasan Ali.

primark - mass protests in

bangladesh

Other workers in Primark's supply chain also took to the streets on the

same days. Workers from Rose Intimates Ltd, which also supplies other

major brands such as Bestseller, Matalan and Peacocks, joined protests

demanding full payment of wages and the possibility to get back to

work. Later in the same month, over 300 workers - one third of the

workforce - was dismissed. These workers only received a part of the

compensation they were legally owed.


primark - mass protests

“I always live hand to mouth. The income and the cost

are always almost equal. I reduce my food cost to send

more money to my daughter and my mother. I have

nothing to reduce or to curtail. I’m at the border line

... When my neighbours go to their factories, I look at

them. I can’t stop my tears ... From whom could I

borrow money? I’m an orphan, my father passed away

when I was an infant, my maternal uncles are also very

poor day-labourers.”

A garment worker in a Primark supplier factory

in Bangladesh


Image: Workers block a

highway on 13 April 2020

during a wage protest. These

are not the same workers as

mentioned below.

Shutterstock/Sk Hasan Ali.

primark - mass protests in

bangladesh

Workers of Fakir Knitwears Ltd. supplying to Primark and H&M

protested to receive an advance of 50% of their May wages and

bonuses before the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday on 24 May.

The factory management promised to pay the wages on time, but

instead filed false criminal charges of vandalism against 100-150

workers of the factory, accusing them of damaging valuable factory

property. In response, the police arrested two workers. In June,

workers therefore continued to protest the arrest of their colleagues

and demand their reinstatement.


primark - mass protests

Wage protests also continued in June: hundreds of workers of Primark

supplier KAC Fashionwear Limited blocked a highway demanding to

return to work and be paid full salaries. Even after the lockdown ended,

only 500 out of 6000 workers were back at work and paid.

“After paying the salary of April, the company told us to stay at

home since many orders have been cancelled. They promised the

workers who were sent to layoff that they will pay them a minimum

salary. But now they are paying only to the 500 workers who are

working currently. The company took our identity cards while

paying the last salary saying they need it for so-called official

documentation. They are denying now to give our ID cards back,

which means our jobs are not secured here anymore.”

Bokul Hossain, garment worker at KAC Fashionwear Limited

via United News of Bangladesh


Image: Workers block a

highway in May 2020 in Dhaka

during a wage protest. These

are not the same workers as

mentioned above.

Shutterstock/Sk Hasan Ali.

primark - mass protests in

bangladesh

In most cases we last heard from these workers in May and June and we

want to know now from Primark: What happened since? Have they

received the wages they were owed?


primark - Kassim

On 15 June, workers protesting the dismissal

of 35 of their co-workers at the Primark

supplier Kassim Garments in Karachi,

Pakistan, were fired at by the factory guards.

Four workers were injured and rushed to the

hospital. When the police arrived, not the

guards, but fifteen of the workers were

arrested.

Eventually, the workers were released, but we

would like to hear from Primark: does this

mean now all is fine in this factory?

Are workers fully paid and have dismissed

workers been compensated?


primark

“Firstly, the factory was closed for ten water festival

holidays in April. Then it closed for nine days for

inspections of the factory. Then after that, I was

dismissed on 14 May 2020. ... Normally my salary was

250,000 MMK [189 USD] per month as an average

including overtime. Management claimed the layoffs

were legal and in accordance with the standard

procedure, but to me it was not in accordance with the

law, so it must be the company's home-made

standards. ... The workers had to sign under pressure.

And they also didn’t give us the payslips. We had to

sign on those slips that included the way they

calculated the compensations.”

Worker in Myanmar in a factory producing

for Primark and Zara


primark

“Since this is the COVID time, the prices of every

good has increased, so it’s really hard for us to

survive.

I received 240,000 MMK before COVID. But since

the COVID-19 started stepping into the country,

I’ve got only a slightly more than 100,000 [76 USD]

... I have pawned my wife's earrings. If the

situation is getting worse, I will take them back

and sell them to get more money than the amount

of the pawning.”

Worker in Myanmar in a factory producing

for Primark and Zara


Kalpona Akter - President of the Bangladesh

Garment and Industrial Workers Federation


nike

Workers tell us that they were underpaid and even fired without

legally-mandated compensation at factories supplying for Nike.

We support their struggle and ask Nike: You paid for orders, but

what about ensuring your workers get what they are owed?


nike - pt victory ching luh

The Victory Ching Luh factory in Indonesia started laying off workers

when the first effects of the pandemic were being felt.

The first time, around 500 trainee workers had to go. Then, in the next

wave of lay-offs, almost 5,000 workers were dismissed. The unions

represented in the factory were not consulted. Union representatives

say the lay-offs were caused by Nike cutting down on orders.


nike - pt victory ching luh

The livelihood of the 17,000 remaining workers was not secured by

the dismissal of their colleagues. Union representatives report to

have unsuccessfully opposed cuts on workdays and wages since

July. The factory threatens that if the wage cuts are not accepted by

the unions, thousands of more workers will be laid off.


nike - pt victory ching luh

union leaders say:

"We asked that management

cut hours and overtime

instead but they said the

lay-offs were unavoidable."

Mr Suwandi Hekkindo, head of

GSBI labour union

"The factories are using

COVID-19 as an excuse

to fire workers and

move somewhere

cheaper.”

Mr Ramidi, General

Sceretary of SPN labour

union

“The off-days are not what workers want, but that’s the

company’s decision. So [money lost from] salary cuts

due to the off-days should be given back to workers.”

Emelia Yanti Siahaan, Secretary-General of GSBI


nike - pt victory ching luh

jemirah, operator and union

leader at victory ching luh

"Before the pandemic,

everything was normal. Wage

and overtime were paid fully. But

then, management started to say

that orders decreased, there’s no

income. We didn’t believe it, so

we ask the management to [give

us] proof, to show evidence."

"The management didn’t consult with us about the dismissal, they

just gathered all the unions and told us that they have to reduce

workers. … In June, the management told us that, in order to avoid

further dismissal, the management will reduce the workdays for

three months and will apply no work no pay..."


nike - pt victory ching luh

“Nike, we, with our hands, make your shoes. We make it

as you requested. We made you gain profits. Huge

profits. Why are you silent when your supplier cuts our

wage? You must take responsibility. In pandemic

situation, you are the first that should pay more

attention to us. You should be responsible with your

suppliers’ conduct. Workers are assets. What is the use

of the materials if no one shape them to something?

What are the machines if there is no one to operate

them?”

Jemirah, operator and union leader at

Victory Ching Luh


nike - pt victory ching luh

“Don’t put the burden of

COVID-19’s impact solely on

the shoulders of workers.”

via The Jakarta Post

Emelia Yanti Siahaan,

Secretary-general of union GSBI


nike - violet apparel

Violet Apparel, supplier of Nike, Matalan, C&A and Carters, announced

to workers on 30 June that it would close permanently the next day

because of lack of orders. Over one thousand workers, including

pregnant women, were dismissed and the factory owners have refused

to pay severance to the workers as required by Cambodian law, leaving

the workers penniless in the midst of a pandemic.

In the two months before

the factory closed, the

factory had already

suspended workers due to

lack of work, paying them

only 30 USD

a month. Hundreds of

workers protested after

the announcement.


nike - violet apparel

“We hope we will get justice

and want the factory to

respect the law and provide

workers with what they are

due.”

Via Phnom Penh Post

Ong Chanthoeun,

a worker at Violet Apparel


nike - violet apparel

Workers confirm the factory was producing for Nike and did so

regularly, even if Nike denies the sourcing relationship. The factory’s

parent company is a recognised Nike supplier and workers have

provided evidence of subcontracting activity at their factory.


nike - violet apparel

Cambodia Confederation of Unions president Rong Chhun was

arrested after he led Violet workers to protest in front of the

Ministry of Labour and sent a petition to the prime minister.

The workers have not been paid advance notice pay.


UN(DER)PAID IN THE

PANDEMIC REPORT

The Un(der)paid in the pandemic report calculated the lost

wages of roughly 13 million workers across seven countries.

The wage gap, although based on only rough estimates,

indicates the amount of funding that is needed to make

garment workers wages whole.

The calculations of workers’ wages are based on the minimum

monthly wage for the garment sector in each country surveyed.

Importantly however, many workers earn, on average, more

than their country’s minimum wage when including regular

overtime hours, bonuses, and other allowances.


WAGE GAP - BANGLADESH

258 facilities

107 facilities

wage gap

march-may:

501

million USD

These are estimates as

explained in the Un(der)paid

in the pandemic report by CCC


CAMBODIA - WAGE GAP

32 facilities

22 facilities

12 facilities

wage gap

march-may:

123.59

million USD

These are estimates as

explained in the Un(der)paid

in the pandemic report by CCC


WAGE GAP - INDIA

220 facilities

145 facilities

7 facilities

wage gap

march-may:

259.72

million USD

These are estimates as

explained in the Un(der)paid

in the pandemic report by CCC


WAGE GAP - INDONESIA

78 facilities

38 facilities

wage gap

march-may:

405.32

million USD

These are estimates as

explained in the Un(der)paid

in the pandemic report by CCC


WAGE GAP - MYANMAR

48 facilities

12 facilities

wage gap

march-may:

64.26

million USD

These are estimates as

explained in the Un(der)paid

in the pandemic report by CCC


PAKISTAN - WAGE GAP

32 facilities

23 facilities

6 facilities

wage gap

march-may:

320.88

million USD

These are estimates as

explained in the Un(der)paid

in the pandemic report by CCC


WAGE GAP - SRI LANKA

20 facilities

10 facilities

6 facilities

wage gap

march-may:

24.05

million USD

These are estimates as

explained in the Un(der)paid

in the pandemic report by CCC


Jobless in Bangladesh

Former garment worker Taniya has to sell tea and

cigars on street to survive after losing her job

during the Covid-19 crisis.

Shutterstock/Sk Hasan Ali


the national struggle in cambodia

Workers, their unions, and labour

activists in Cambodia decided

that they will not accept the wage

gap left behind by the pandemic.

During the lockdown, factories

were legally required to pay only

40% of workers’ wages, while the

government promised to add

another 20%, leaving workers

with only 60% of their wages,

and often less because

government payments did not

come through.

In June the government announced that also bi-annual seniority

indemnity payments would be postponed by a year, while many

workers, after months of partial wages, were counting on this money.


national struggle in cambodia

Cambodian unions and labour rights groups have calculated that

workers are owed 76 USD per month for the period of reduced wages.

They are calling upon brands sourcing from Cambodia, as well as the

government, to ensure that: workers receive their due bonuses with no

delay, the wage gap is covered, and all laid-off workers are paid full

severance.

International solidarity

for their campaign to

hold brands responsible

for the livelihood of

workers in their supply

chain is very much

needed.

Their campaign for higher wages had led to a meagre monthly 2 USD

increase on the current wage of 190 USD.


national struggle in cambodia

H&M, Primark and Nike all source from factories in Cambodia

33 factories

22 factories

12 factories

Cambodian minimum wage 2020: 190 USD per month


covid-19's effects strike

everywhere

Brands and retailers’ responses to the pandemic has affected workers

around the world: in the supply chains of H&M, Primark, and Nike

across Asia, but just as much in other supply chains and on other

continents, such as Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

morocco

In Morocco, in the supply chain of Inditex – owner of Zara,

Bershka, Stradivarius, Pull & Bear – workers were receiving

wages with delay for several months and were beginning to

endure other violations of their rights when they stopped

receiving any wages at all and their factory closed entirely.

The group of workers from the Société Le Grand Maghreb

Industrie factory were left without a job or due compensation

overnight.


covid-19 strikes everywhere

romania

In Romania, many workers

employed at the Tanex factory,

which supplies a number of major

international brands, received only

half their wages for March and

April [165USD], although they

worked full time for the Tanex

factory. The one woman who dared

to speak out publicly about this

injustice, Angelica, was harassed

and fired.

As a result of organizing by the workers, engagement with the

brands, and ultimately the brands’ pressure on Tanex management,

most of the workers have now received their back pay. Angelica

and three other workers who left the factory continue to fight for

the money they are owed by factory management.


covid-19 strikes everywhere

Aida, 20 years old, worked for a

factory that produces clothing

for The Children's Place. Her

wages had been cut from 26 USD

to 10 USD a month since March.

She said her employers had told

workers the company might go

bankrupt because of the volume

of lost orders after The Children's

Place cancelled orders.

ethiopia

“I am afraid I am going to lose my job because of the crisis and get

expelled from my house when I can’t afford to pay my rent. ... The

days I skip meals has become more frequent … I used to eat

vegetables but now I usually consume only cornflour meals.”

Image: Garment workers in Ethiopia before the pandemic. Shutterstock/Pinar Alver


covid-19 strikes everywhere

ethiopia

Tamru, 22 years old, who works

at the same The Children's Place

supplier used to make 27 USD a

month, working nine hours a day,

six days a week. Since orders

were cut, the company stopped

supplying buses to transport

workers to the factories, and his

wages have been cut in half.

Via The Guardian

“I can’t eat whenever I

want to eat,” he said. “I

sometimes skip dinner. I

walk from home to work

every day because the

factory has stopped

providing transport

service and I can’t afford

to pay for a bus. My work

is so exhausting, I never

sit, and the pay is very

small to cover my

expenses.”


covid-19 strikes everywhere

A factory in Yangon, Myanmar

where 439 women and 61 men

made jackets and trousers for

Mango, Zara, Kiabi, New Locker

and Bestseller suddenly closed in

March, after the owner had fled

the country. It was on monthly

pay day, so the entire workforce

was left without their wages or

compensation for the loss of

their jobs. The owner blamed the

bankruptcy on the the

repercussions of the COVID-19

outbreak, which made it

impossible to obtain raw

materials from China.

myanmar

The workers are entitled to

300 million Kyat (almost

200.000 EUR) and organised

a protest at the Yangon

District Office to demand the

auction of assets and

payment of their due wages,

severance, and social

security payments. The

brands must ensure that the

workers receive their legally

due wages and benefits

(incl. February wages,

severance and notice pay).


thank you for reading

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