Unpaid and Overworked : Garment Workers Have Still Been Denied The Lawful Minimum Wage

Karnataka garment workers
How much do clothing companies allow their suppliers to steal from Indian garment workers?
BANGALORE – Garment workers in the Indian state of Karnataka who make garments for large worldwide brands say their families are going hungry because firms refuse to pay the legal minimum wage.Karnataka is a central garment manufacturing area in India, with thousands of factories producing clothes for brands and stores such as Puma, Nike, Zara, Tesco, C&A, Gap, Marks & Spencer, and H&M.

RELEVANT SUSTAINABLE GOALS 

The Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) estimates that the entire amount of unpaid wages is over US$55 million, with over 400,000 garment workers in Karnataka not being paid the minimum wage since April 2020.
garment workers in Karnataka have been underpaid for over 650 days
image : Labour Behind The Label

“The brands who buy from my factory demand quality and for the clothes to be shipped in time but aren’t bothered with what happens to me.”

A woman worker in Karnataka, India
Workers claim that the consequences of not obtaining this raise have been actual and severe, including restricted access to basic necessities, lost homes, and lost schooling for their children. According to the Worker Rights Consortium, this is the most significant wage theft they have ever witnessed in the worldwide garment sector, resulting in a real-term fall in employees’ already precarious level of life.
 
Brands are aware of the theft and are enabling it to go place.

“In terms of number of workers affected and total money stolen, this is the most egregious act of wage theft we’ve ever seen. The children of garment workers are going hungry so brands can make a buck.”

Scott Nova, Worker Rights Consortium

Take Action and Call Upon Brands 

Workers in Karnataka are owed collectively over $56 million. This figure is rising by $2 million every month. Big brands such as M&S, Zara, C&A, Walmart, Abercrombie & Fitch, etc are getting away with the worst wage theft ever.
 
Brands must act immediately to make sure their suppliers pay workers their arrears and stop cheating workers out of the legal minimum wage. This flagrant disregard for their workers cannot go on. Brands must step in and ensure that workers are paid at least their legal minimum wages.

Take Action: Click on a Brand Logo to Tweet at the Brand

or go to their Instagram pages and tell these brands: #PayYourWorkers — stop the #WorstWageTheft!

All images courtesy of Labour Behind The Label

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