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Report

2 Jul 2021

Author:
Clean Clothes Campaign

Clean Clothes Campaign releases "Breaking Point" report on wage theft during pandemic

In a hard-hitting new research report, Clean Clothes Campaign finds that H&M, Nike and Primark have driven factory workers in their supply chains in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Indonesia into desperation during the COVID-19 pandemic. [...]

...Almost 70% of the interviewed workers have endured periods in which they were not paid their normal, pre-pandemic wages. All of these workers were surviving on poverty wages before the pandemic, and now it has become even harder for them to make ends meet. [...]

Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) chose to research three brands that made considerable profits over the last year and appeared often on its liveblog that keeps track of reported violations in garment factories and garment producing countries. [...]

...The average monthly income of the interviewed workers has decreased. Eleven Primark workers estimate that they are owed $2890 combined, eighteen H&M workers estimate the amount owed to them is $2368 and thirteen Nike workers estimate they are owed $1527. Furthermore, workers report increased production targets, unsafe working conditions, and harassment from management.

...Mass cancellations, delayed payments, and discounts imposed on suppliers sent financial shock waves through the industry and have had devastating impacts on garment workers. Globally, garment workers are owed billions in unpaid wages, bonuses, and severance pay since the pandemic began. While many major brands have since agreed to pay in full for orders that had already been in production (as evidenced on the Worker Rights Consortium brand tracker), they have not committed to ensuring that workers within their supply chains receive their regular wages throughout the pandemic.

...Since March 2021, a coalition of over 200 unions and labour rights organisations called upon brands to negotiate directly with unions in the sector on an enforceable agreement on wage assurance, severance, and basic labour rights to fill the pandemic-era wage gap, ensure workers who are terminated receive their full severance, support stronger social protections for all workers, and to ensure basic labour rights are respected.

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