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Bank & Finance - July 4, 2021

Most brands didn’t ensure proper payment of workers

RMG sector scenario during pandemic

Staff Correspondent: A report by Clean Clothes Campaign, garment industry’s largest alliance of labour unions and non-governmental organisations, have found evidence of “wage theft” in the supply chains of leading brands.
The alleged wage theft in the supply chains of Primark, Nike and H&M outlines devastating consequences of pandemic on garment workers in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Cambodia, says The Guardian quoting the report.
The report found that while none of the brands had broken any law, they had failed to ensure that workers were paid properly throughout the pandemic.
Interviews with dozens of garment workers in Indonesia, Cambodia and Bangladesh discovered many had experienced periods in the last year when they had not been paid their full wages. Of the 49 workers interviewed, more than half said they were paid less than before the pandemic.
There is a growing body of evidence that “wage theft” of poorly paid workers has occurred at a significant scale throughout the pandemic, linked to many of the world’s largest fashion brands. A Worker Rights Consortium report in April estimated that total severance theft during Covid-19, across the supply chains of global brands and retailers, was $500 million to $850 million, the report by The Guardian adds.
“Brands have continued to profit and can afford to pay workers. They have the power and responsibility to make sure workers in their supply chains are being paid,” said Meg Lewis, lead author of the Clean Clothes Campaign’s report.
“Wages in the garment industry are already set at poverty levels so any drop in pay is a huge factor in workers’ lives. It shouldn’t be the workers who are paying for this pandemic,” Lewis added.
All the brands named in the report acknowledged that the pandemic had been devastating for the global fashion industry.
H&M and Nike said that workers in their supply chains had all been compensated in accordance with local legal requirements on wages. Primark said it was taking the findings of the report seriously and would welcome receiving any evidence of wage problems at the supplier factories named in the report.

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