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LIVING WAGE NOW Forum – October 12 – 14th 2015

Living Wage Now Forum in Brussels from 12 – 14 October 2015

Support garment workers as they campaign for a living wage now!
Support garment workers as they campaign for a living wage now!

From October 12 to 14, 2015, Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) organises the Living Wage Now Forum in Brussels. For three days, CCC will take the next steps together with officials from major fashion brands, workers’ representatives from around the world and European policy makers and work towards a living wage for all garment workers.

Since 2013, the Clean Clothes Campaign network has actively supported the mobilisation for a living wage, bringing to Europe the voice of the garment workers worldwide.

Nearly three years on and the campaign has paid off with a  global movement for a living wage consolidating and businesses and policy makers committed to a common goal.

But commitment alone is not enough. Millions of workers still live in unbearable conditions. Most of the women stitching our clothes earn only 20% to 30% of a living wage. The Living Wage Now Forum will be a unique experience that will take stock of the progress made since the beginning of this unprecedented global campaign, but especially encourage brands and politicans to finally move from rhetoric to action.

 

WHO PARTICIPATES?

More than 200 participants

35 representatives of workers’ organizations from around the world;

49 representatives of the Clean Clothes Campaign global network;

8 international brands (H&M, Inditex/Zara, C&A, Tchibo, Tesco, N’Brown, New Look, Pentland, Primark) and 5 Belgian brands (E5 Mode, JBC, Lola & Liza Stanley & Stella, Bel & Bo)

Several members of the European Parliament, and Mr. Klaus Rudischhauser, Deputy Director General for Development and Cooperation;

Representatives of international organizations such as the ILO and the OECD;

Academics and representatives of organizations active in the field of business and human rights.

 

You can find the full program here:

http://www.livingwagenow.eu/uploads/images/LWN%20Forum%20program01102015.pdf

 

Here you find information about some of the speakers and more:

http://www.livingwagenow.eu/forum

Living Wage Now! CCC Ireland will deliver your signatures to MEPs in Brussels on October 13th. Add your support before we go!

Support Garment Workers calling for a Living Wage Now!
Support Garment Workers calling for a Living Wage.

Show your support for garment workers around the world as they call for a #livingwage now.

I want the people who make my clothes to earn a Living Wage

I want the women and men who stitch my clothes to earn enough to feed their family, pay their rent and live with dignity and without the fear of destitution.

A living wage is a human right, for all people all over the world and I say it's time to pay a living wage to all garment workers.

[signature]

529 signatures

Thanks for signing! maybe you'd like to share this with your friends on facebook find us at /CCCIreland or followers on twitter we're @CleanClothesIre. Thanks again!

   

Victory for Rana Plaza workers as compensation fund is finally filled

 

After two years of campaigning across the world, an large anonymous donation of €2.4 million secures full and fair compensation for victims of Rana Plaza
After two years of campaigning across the world, an large anonymous donation of €2.4 million secures full and fair compensation for victims of Rana Plaza

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) is delighted to announce a major campaign victory with the confirmation that the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund has finally met its target of $30 million, following a large anonymous donation.

 

The CCC has been campaigning since the disaster in April 2013 to demand that brands and retailers provided compensation to its victims.

Since then over one million consumers from across Europe and around the world have joined actions against many of the major high street companies whose products were being made in one of the five factories housed in the structurally compromised building. These actions forced many brands to finally pay donations and by the second anniversary the Fund was still $2.4 million dollars short of its $30million target. A large donation received by the Fund in the last few days has now led to the Fund meeting its target.

“This day has been long in coming. Now that all the families impacted by this disaster will finally receive all the money that they are owed, they can finally focus on rebuilding their lives. This is a remarkable moment for justice,” said Kate Nolan of the Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland. “This would not have been possible without the support of citizens and consumers in Ireland and across Europe who stuck with the campaign over the past two years. Together we have proved once again that European consumers do care about the workers who make their clothes – and that their actions really can make a difference.”

 

The Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund was set up by the ILO in January 2014 to collect funds to pay awards designed to cover loss of income and medical costs suffered by the Rana Plaza victims and their families when the Rana Plaza building collapsed in the garment industry’s worst ever disaster.

In November 2014 the Rana Plaza Coordination Committee announced that this would need around $30million to pay in full over 5,000 awards granted through the scheme. However, the failure of brands and retailers linked to Rana Plaza to provide sufficient and timely donations into the Fund has, until today, prevented the payment of the awards from being completed.

The CCC continues to call for policy changes to ensure that those affected by future disasters will receive more timely support. They welcome a new initiative by the ILO in Bangladesh to develop a national workplace injury scheme for the country’s 4 million garment workers. They also urge European politicians to develop better regulation of supply chains to ensure that brands and retailers are held properly accountable in the future.

This is a huge victory – but its been too long in the making” says Ineke Zeldenrust from the CCC International Secretariat: “That brands with a collective annual profit of over $20 billion took two years and significant public pressure to come up with a mere $30 million is an indictment of the voluntary nature of social responsibility. We now need to look at ways to ensure that access to such remedy is provided by brands and retailers as a matter of course, and not only when public outrage makes doing nothing impossible.”

Global pressure urges retailers to ‘close the gap’ in funding in time for second anniversary of Rana Plaza disaster.

24th April 2015 marks the two-year anniversary of the worst industrial accident to ever hit the garment industry, when the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh came crashing down killing 1134 garment workers.

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and its trade union allies and partners are marking the second anniversary of disaster, with a global call to action, demanding that the Rana Plaza survivors and victims’ families immediately receive the full compensation they are entitled to; and that all apparel brands and retailers.

Despite the growing urgency, brands continue to postpone payments to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund, or make payments that are clearly insufficient to close the $4.5 million gap in funds necessary to ensure the survivors of Rana Plaza receive full and fair compensation.

The ILO set up the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund in January 2014 to collect compensation for the victims of the disaster. The Rana Plaza Coordination Committee (RPCC), set up in October 2013, was tasked with developing and overseeing the compensation process, known as the Arrangement. The RPCC includes representatives from the Bangladesh government, Bangladesh industry, global brands and retailers, Bangladeshi and international trade unions and Bangladeshi and international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), with the ILO acting as the neutral chair. In the development of the Arrangement the brand representatives refused to set specific payment amounts for each company.

Since the opening of the Fund in January 2014 campaigners have argued that donations should reflect a company’s ability to pay, the size of their relationship with Bangladesh and the extent of their relationship with Rana Plaza however nearly every brand linked to the Rana Plaza building has made insufficient donations, thus failing to live up to their responsibilities to the victims. Some brands, such as Mango, Matalan, and Inditex have refused to disclose their donation. Others, such as Walmart and The Children’s Place, while publicly disclosing their donation, still only contributed a minimal amount.

“We need to start asking questions as to why out of all the companies with direct links to Rana Plaza only two – Primark and Loblaw – have stepped up in a financially meaningful way, showing that they take their responsibilities seriously, and that they do respect the lives of workers. If all the other companies involved had followed suit, we would not be entering into this funding crisis that we are today, just one day until the anniversary of the disaster and still facing over a 4 million shortfall,” says Kate Nolan of the Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland.

On April 24, 2013, shortly after 8AM, the Rana Plaza building collapsed, when eight storeys of concrete came crashing down, killing 1,134 people. Many were killed instantly. Many others were buried alive, forcing some to amputate their own limbs in order to escape and survive. It is estimated that there were 3890 people in the Rana Plaza building at the time of collapse.

‘If we have learnt anything from this disaster it is that  it is vital that any retailer doing business in Bangladesh should be signed up to the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, not just those that were producing in Rana Plaza. That means Dunnes Stores and O’Neills and any company sourcingthier garments  from vulnerable workers in the Bangladesh garment sector. ‘ continues Kate

Fashion Revolution Day
Global actions began in Genova, Italy, on , 18 April and have continued across across the world in the week leading up to 24 April 2015 when social media activism is set to make a global noise under the hashtag #fashrev #whomademyclothes. Fashion Revelotuion Day is set to take over the social media platforms for the day as millions of  consumers ask a simple question to their favourite brands and retialers – who made my clothes? Intended as a mark of respect for garment workers around the world and instigated by London based designer Carry Sommers as a reaction to the Rana Plaza disaster, Fashion Revolution Day is marked in over 66 countries around the world.

 

Rana Plaza workers ask public to support their calls for Benetton to finally pay compensation to victims nearly 2 years after the devestating collapse

Benetton CEO, Marco Airoldi : Pay compensation to the survivors of the Rana Plaza disaster

My name is Mahinoor and I am 18 years old. I used to work on the fourth floor of Rana Plaza at Phantom Apparels Ltd in Bangladesh. April 24, 2013 – the day Rana Plaza came crashing down – is a day I will always remember. It’s a day I often wish to forget. It was the worst day of my life. 

Benetton bought clothes from a factory in the Rana Plaza building. It is now the last major international brand with direct links to Rana Plaza, which has refused to give us even a penny in compensation. Benetton’s behaviour is shocking, shameful, and unacceptable. Please help us hold Benetton accountable and sign this petition.

On the day Rana Plaza collapsed I was working on the fourth floor of the building. A machine fell on me. I was stuck, and couldn’t get out. The only reason I was able get out from under the machine is because a colleague never gave up and continuously kept trying to free me. 

When I was trapped in the rubble with my colleagues, we kept looking for a way to escape. But, we couldn’t find a way out. This was horrifying. We thought we would die in there, buried under the rubble. After a long time we realized that some people from the outside were trying to break the wall and suddenly we found hope. I found hope. 

We need this compensation to replace our lost earnings and so we can begin to rebuild our lives. I have a father who is very ill and have to look after my parents. I have to earn money, but I’m too haunted by my memories to work in a garment factory again. 

I suffered permanent injuries as a result of the disaster, including the loss of a toe. I still have health problems including a poor memory, which makes it difficult to find more work. More importantly, many of my coworkers and friends suffered terrible deaths. I am still carrying the shock of Rana Plaza and sometimes I wonder if I will ever be able to fully recover and move on. 

This is why I am demanding full and fair compensation for all of us who were affected by the Rana Plaza tragedy. We believe that all the buyers of Rana Plaza must pay our compensation since we worked hard making them clothes and then were either injured or killed in the process.

I know that Benetton said they donated to a charity, but this is not the same as receiving money that we are rightfully owed. When I was in the hospital I received some money to set up a shop – I don’t know who paid this money or why they gave it to me and I didn’t get to choose what to use that money for. Charity is not the same as compensation. We do not want charity. We want to be paid full and fair compensation, which is our right. 

The bottom-line is that after everything we have gone through, we should not be forced to beg or rely on charity for our living. We are entitled to full and fair compensation from Benetton. We’ve seen how international action has held other brands to account. With your help, Benetton will not be able to simply ignore their responsibility. 

Please join us in this fight for justice. 
http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Benetton_CEO_Marco_Airoldi_Pay_compensation_to_the_survivors_of_the_Rana_Plaza_disaster/?tPhBSib

Benetton continues to deny compensation to Rana Plaza victims

Benetton continues to refuse to pay compensation to Rana Plaza victims
Benetton continues to refuse to pay compensation to Rana Plaza victims

Benetton targeted over Rana Plaza compensation on International Human Rights Day.

Labour rights campaigners across Europe and the USA are marking this years’ International Human Rights Day by calling on Italian fashion brand Benetton to finally pay into a fund set up to pay compensation to thousands of families affected by the Rana Plaza disaster in April 2013.

On and around 10 December 2014, activists will be participating in street actions in France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and the U.S. demanding that Benetton immediately pay into a fund set up by the ILO to provide compensation to those injured in the collapse and the families of those killed. These street actions will be complimented by online actions from all over the world, coordinated through the launch of a new website by the Clean Clothes Campaign targeted at Benetton: https://payup.cleanclothes.org. Campaigners have also called on franchise holders of Benetton stores throughout Europe to support the campaign by asking the Benetton Group to take immediate action.

“We are using International Human Rights Day to remind citizens that compensation is a right for all workers and that until compensation is paid in full there will be no justice for the Rana Plaza workers,” said Deborah Lucchetti from the Campagna Abiti Puliti. “We are determined to continue our campaign until Benetton pays what it owes.”

Benetton is the only international brand with confirmed links to the Rana Plaza factories which has refused to contribute a single penny to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund, set up by the ILO in January 2013 to finance compensation payments to over five thousand individuals who either lost a relative or were injured in the garment industry’s worst ever industrial disaster. Almost a year since the Fund was first opened it has collected just over $22 million, leaving a significant shortfall in the amount required to pay all of compensation awards.

The awards have been calculated and agreed by the Rana Plaza Co-ordination Committee, which brings together government, brands, trade unions and factory owners to oversee a system to deliver and calculate compensation awards in line with international standards. With the claims process now almost complete campaigners say that the lack of funding is now the only obstacle to delivering full compensation to everybody before the new year.

In 2013, the same year as the Rana Plaza collapse, Edizione S.r.l., a company under the full control of the Benetton family and which owns the Benetton Group, earned profits of  €139 million.  Benetton is being asked to contribute $5 million to the Fund, an amount campaigners believe is proportional given the clear links between Benetton and one of the factories at Rana Plaza and the huge profits made by the company.

“Collectively the brands linked to Rana Plaza earn billion of dollars in profit from selling clothes – only a tiny fraction of this is needed to ensure justice for Rana Plaza victims” said Ilona Kelly of the Clean Clothes Campaign. “Given the exorbitant collective wealth of the Benetton family, and the continued profits of their investment company Edizione, surely they can afford to give just $5 million of that to the Rana Plaza victims”.

Forced labour scheme found in highstreet retailers supply chains

Forced labour found in highstreet retailers' supply chains

New Report from Clean Clothes Campaign finds bonded labour remains entrenched in highstreet fashion retailers’ supply chains.

The latest report released by Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland and their partners have found a bonded labour schemes targeting poverty stricken young girls as young as 15 in South India are supplying well known highstreet retailers including Primark, Motercare, C&A and Sainsbury’s among others.  

Flawed Fabrics an new report from Clean Clothes Campaign partners; the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) highlights serious labour rights and human rights violations faced by girls and young women in the South Indian textile hub of Tamil Nadu.

The report interviewed over 150 women and girls working in 5 of the estimated 1600 the spinning mills of Tamil Nadu, and found the practice of Sumangali schemes remains entrenched in the region. The Sumangali scheme is an employment arrangement targeting young girls recruited from marginalised Dalit communities in impoverished rural areas. Brought to the mills and factories on the promise of good wages, accommodation, three meals a day and the promise of a lump sum ‘dowry’ payment at the end of an agreed term, this report show that the vulnerable young girls find themselves in a very different situation.

Living in basic and over-crowded company-run hostels the girls interviewed faced restrictions of movement, rationed external communication and in many cases armed guards at the gates of compounds. Forced to work at least 60 hours a week in hostile and unhealthy conditions where night shifts and overtime are obligatory and pay is deducted in the case of illness.

A worker at Sulochana Cotton Spinning Mills said of her living conditions: “I do not like the hostel; there is no entertainment and no outside contact and is very far from the town. It is like a semi-prison.”  

Despite these significant breaches of worker and human rights, two of the researched mills received international certification (SA8000) from Social Accountability International (SAI) for adhering to international labour standards.

Kate Nolan of Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland states “On news of continued rising profits for low cost retailers like Penneys, we have to start to consider where these margins are realized. Buying practices including pricing need to allow for decent working conditions so that girls and young women in Tamil Nadu no longer have to face appalling working conditions that are tantamount to forced labour.“

Rosie O’Reilly of Re-dress, Ireland’s Sustainable Fashion Initiative comments

“The hallmark of a sustainable enterprise is not soaring profits but companies that show the means to encourage innovation and long-term planning around resource use and social responsibility. Companies should be creating more wealth than they destroy and should be building net wealth – social, ecological and economic. In the case of fast fashion brand Penneys and others named in this report this is not the case. There recent tie to Sumangali schemes in India illustrates this clearly as do the many reports released this year that link fashion brands to increasing environmental and humanitarian destruction. “

SOMO researcher and co-author of the report Martje Theuws says: “Business efforts are failing to address labour rights violations effectively. Corporate auditing is not geared towards detecting forced labour and other major labour rights infringements. Moreover, there is a near complete lack of supply chain transparency. Local trade unions and labour groups are consistently ignored.”

In addition, ICN programme officer Marijn Peepercamp states: “Governments at the buying end of the supply chain are failing to ensure that companies live up to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The state duty to protect and the corporate responsibility to respect human rights as laid down in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are not being respected.”

This is not the first time SOMO and ICN have reported the issue of forced labour in South India, the Captured by Cotton Report 2011  also raised the issue and produced many strong intentions to tackle the issue from multi stakeholders initiatives and retailers but to date we have seen little proof that their intentions are finding any path to changing the reality for these young girls.

 

Read the full reports here 

Flawed Fabrics Report 2014

Captured by Cotton Report 2011

 

 

German Retailer KIK continues to deny full compensation for victims of three deadliest garment industry tragedies in history

German retailer KIK continue to delay paying full compensation to victims of the two deadliest garment factory disasters in history

 

Today, marks the second anniversary of the fatal fire at Ali Enterprises garment factory in Karachi, Pakistan, which killed at least 254 garment workers and injured 55. Two years on, the victims families and the survivors are still waiting for the compensation they are entitled to.

Just weeks before the fire, the factory was audited on behalf of Italian social audit firm RINA for SAI (Social Accountability International) SA8000 certification – and passed – even though it had no emergency exits, barred windows, was not registered and had an entire illegal mezzanine floor built on.

The survivors and victims families fate is shared with the families of more than 1,300 garment workers who have been killed in unsafe workplaces in Asia since the Ali Enterprises fire, and the thousands more who survived fires and building collapses but whose lives have been changed forever.

German retailer KiK had clothes produced in each of the three factories to witness the greatest loss of life – Ali Enterprises, Tazreen Fashions and Rana Plaza – and yet to date has failed to provide full and fair compensation for all the victims.

In December 2012 KIK, the only known buyer at Ali Enterprises factory, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) committing an initial US$1 million for immediate relief and agreeing to negotiations surrounding the amount required to pay compensation. However the negotiation is being delayed by KiK, who most recently pulled out at the last minute of planned negotiations in July and compensation remains unpaid.

KIK has committed US$1 million to the Rana Plaza Donor Trust Fund, just a fifth of what Clean Clothes Campaign estimates they owe, based on their annual turnover. And for the victims of Tazreen Fashions they have failed to contribute a cent.

 “KIK were sourcing from the factories involved in three of history’s deadliest tragedies – Tazreen, Ali Enterprises and then or course Rana Plaza, – these were not accidents, these were the result of continuous price pressures by discount retailers like KIK causing factory owners to cut corners and to keep pay at poverty levels, forcing workers to risk their lives to keep their families from destitution. Over 1,600 people died in these three tragedies and two years later the injured workers and surviving families are barely able to make ends meet. KIK must pay full and fair compensation to all those who have paid the highest price for KIK’s low cost products, their refusal to accept their responsibility for full compensation just prolongs the suffering of the very people their profits are built on.” Kate Nolan, Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland

The tragedies in the garment industry over the last two years have highlighted the urgent need for a more long term and sustainable compensation system for workplace accidents as per ILO standards and in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights right to remedy framework. The framework makes clear that “when … there is a failure to protect and respect human rights in the workplace then governments and companies must ensure effective remedies, including adequate compensatory payments.”

It is not charity that the survivors want, it is their right to full and fair compensation,” says Mr. Karamat Ali, Executive Director of PILER.

As workers and campaigners around the world hold candlelight vigils to commemorate those who died in the fire, Clean Clothes Campaign renews it’s call to KiK to resume negotiations based on the legally binding agreement with PILER, and pay up, ensuring all the victims families and survivors receive the compensation they are owed before another year passes.

 

Violent retaliation as hunger striking workers refuse to back down.

female workers flee from police raid
Police force Tuba garment workers from the factory premises in a crack-down on the striking workers
Clean Clothes Campaign demands the immediate release of union leader Moshrefa Mishu and all others and calls for an end to the violence against the worker’s strike in Bangladesh. The protesting women announced a nation-wide strike of all garment producing factories this week if they do not receive three months salaries and allowances owed to them by garment producer Tuba Group.

President of the Garment Workers Unity Forum Moshrefa Mishu was arrested today when police stormed into a factory of Tuba Group in Dhaka, firing rubber bullets and teargas canisters to disperse workers who were observing indefinite hunger strike demanding their three months’ salary and bonuses in full.

Police also arrested Jolly Talukder, joint seceretary of the Bangladesh Trade Union Center and Monjur Moin, labour leader from the Communist party.

amran Hossain female garment workers face violent repurcussions
Female Tuba worker faces further violent repercussions on the streets after Police force striking workers from the factory. Photo: Amran Hossain

Hundreds of workers from five Tuba Group factories have been protesting since the day before Eid. More than 100 workers collapsed and 17 have been hospitalized since the hunger strike began on Monday 28th July.

Furthermore the workers demand that the factories should be kept open so that the women can retain their livelihood, compensation for workers who have fallen ill and compensation for the victims of Tazreen Fashions fire.

Delwar Hossain, managing director of Tuba Group, has been detained in jail since February 9 for his role in Tazreen fire in November 2012 that took 112 lives. however,  in what was seen as a cynical use of the ongoing strike he was released on bail last Tuesday to allow payments be made.

We call on the BGMEA, the Tuba Group and the buyers of the factories to call for an end to the violence and ensure swift payments to the workers, because nobody should be forced to risk their lives for a living wage.

Cambodian garment workers continue to struggle for a Living Wage after violent repression of wages strikes in early January

News Real report on the repercussions of  the violent reaction by police and military in Cambodia in January 2014 following garment workers wage strikes demanding a wage that would afford them life of dignity not poverty.   Since producing the below video activist Vorn Pao has now been released from jail following significant international campaigning.