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The Clean Clothes Campaign launches ‘Pay Your Workers’

By Andrea Byrne

Sep 28, 2020

Business

The new campaign 'Pay Your Workers' focuses on garment brands and retailers with outsourced production, in particular H&M, Nike and Primark, as these brands have most frequently appeared in reports from workers about the violations of workers' rights during the pandemic.

The Clean Clothes Campaign network urges apparel brands and retailers to commit to a wage assurance, which is a public commitment to ensure that workers in their supply chains are paid what they are owed and to enter into negotiations to establish a fund that will make sure workers can no longer be left jobless without their legally owed severance.

“This campaign targets some of the wealthiest apparel supply chains in the world. These brands have made profits for decades on the basis of poverty wages and outsourced responsibility without contributing to any form of social protection in garment producing countries.

“Our campaign aims to reclaim funds for the workers, by convincing brands to take responsibility for the people who enabled great profits through their underpaid labour,” said Ineke Zeldenrust from the Clean Clothes Campaign, in a statement.

In a report: Un(der)paid in the pandemic. An estimate of what the garment industry owes its workers, published by the Clean Clothes Campaign, calculated that for the first three months of the pandemic, garment workers in global supply chains are owed between 3.2-5.8 billion dollars in unpaid wages, legally owed bonuses, and compensation.

Djoko Heriyono from the National Industrial Workers Union Federation (SPN), added: “Many workers in Indonesia, who already had difficulty surviving on their wages before the Covid-19 outbreak, have seen their wages cut or their jobs disappear without due compensation during the pandemic.

“They make clothes and shoes for international brands who have the influence and money to ensure that workers will receive their full wages and benefits. We urge brands to take responsibility for the wages owed during the pandemic and to ensure that workers will never be left with absolutely nothing again.”

Over a dozen brands have already committed to ensuring their workers are paid in full during the pandemic, including Known Supply, Kuyichi, Nile and Taiyo.

Photo credit: NurPhoto via AFP