Labor conditions in the apparel industry are an ongoing struggle even for brands with substantial purchasing power. Since the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh in April 2013, dozens of brands and industry organizations have committed to various approaches to ensuring worker safety and improving wages, but progress has been slow and conditions remain largely untenable Now, a new report has revealed yet more unfair treatment of garment factory workers.
Bangalore, India is a major hub for the apparel industry and a city where up to 80 percent of garment workers are believed to be migrant workers, who are particularly vulnerable to unfair treatment since they often do not speak the local language and rely on company-provided accommodations. A recent investigation targeted four garment factories in Bangalore – suppliers of GAP, H&M, C&A, and Inditex, the parent company of Zara – and found that the factory-owned hostels provided inadequate living conditions and restricted freedom of movement.
The paper Unfree and Unfair, released in January by the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN), includes a collection of evidence from a mix of desk research, interviews with over 110 factory workers, and interviews with members of the Garment Labour Union (GLU) in Bangalore.
Image Credit: Giada Fiorindi for Quartz
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