Publications

Make in India. Working Conditions in West-Indian Textile Companies

Art.-No.: 2016-12

Year of publication: 2016

On the occasion of a fact finding mission to Gujarat together with the Clean Clothes Campaign (Germany) and Südwind e.V. in January 2015 the German Commission for Justice and Peace got in touch with PRAYAS in India. Südwind e.V. and PRAYAS are two institutes doing investigative work on labour conditions in the informal economy. In 2015 and 2016 the authors Dr Sabine Ferenschild and Sudhir Katiyar produced two studies on labour conditions in the textile value chain, ‚Hard Work for Soft Fibres‘ and ‚Make in India‘. Both studies describe working conditions and labour rights violations in different stages of cotton production and processing.

(Dr. Sabine Ferenschild and others, 48 Pages)

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Adidas purchasing practices and the brand´s possibility of supporting Living Wage

Art.-No.: 2014-14

Year of publication: 2014

Living wage is an issue for adidas just as price is. We see a lot of rhetoric and effort to find out what a fair or living wage is. The facts we know about the payment of workers in adidas contractors and subcontractors in Indonesia, however, do not reflect these efforts.

(Antje Schneeweiß, 2 Pages)

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Women Working in the Shadows: The informal economy and export processing zones

Art.-No.: 2010-22

Year of publication: 2010

Large areas of women’s work in the world economy takes place in a shadowy realm not covered by labour market statistics, media headlines and research projects. Information on socially vulnerable sectors of the economy in which women’s work is performed is scanty. The amount of employment which is largely beyond the pale of protective measures of the state has increased dramatically over the last few decades. Such forms of employment, also referred to as informal, atypical, unprotected or precarious, are also sharply on the rise in the industrialised countries as well.

Almost two-thirds of paid employees in the world work in the informal economy today. These usually include street vendors, small producers, domestic employees and home workers in the South, and casual employees, temporary workers, part-time and non-permanent employees and frequently micro-entrepreneurs in the North. Two-thirds of them are considered poor in the world. The majority of employees in the informal economy are women. There is also a dearth of data on the working conditions of the primarily female employees working in export promotion zones worldwide. There is scarcely any public awareness of the fact that workers’ and women’s rights are being systematically violated in many of these tax and customs enclaves in more than a hundred countries.

This publication provides basic information on the informal economy and export processing zones, exploring their development in the context of globalisation and the prevailing gender order. It offers proposals for action to be taken by church and women’s groups, trade unions and youth organisations taking the example of campaigns relating to the global textiles and clothing industry, in which women’s work in the informal economy and in export processing zones is very widespread.

(Ingeborg Wick, 60 Pages)

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Labour and women’s rights in the discount business. Aldi’s special bargains from China

Art.-No.: 2009-20

Year of publication: 2009

In September 2008, on behalf of the SÜDWIND Institute for Economics and Ecumenism, a survey of about 80 workers was carried out in six factories in the Pearl River Delta in China. These factories are suppliers of electronics, household appliances, cosmetics and textiles to Aldi.
On the basis of the respective ILO conventions and Chinese labour laws, the workers were asked questions about the following range of topics: forced labour, wages, discrimination in the workplace, employment of juveniles and minors, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, working hours as well as health and safety standards.

(Ingeborg Wick, 18 Pages)

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Aldi‘s clothing bargains – discount buys discounting standards? Working conditions in Aldi‘s suppliers in China and Indonesia

Art.-No.: 2007-12

Year of publication: 2007

One consumer in two in Germany buys clothing from discounters, often alongside their purchases of more expensive products from specialist shops and brand-name producers. To attract even more customers, discounters are also increasingly selling high value goods, also at extremely low prices. In recent years, retailers new to the textile and clothing (T&C) trade such as Germany’s largest discounter, ALDI, have taken over the top positions in domestic T&C retailing. Among the more than 80% of the population that shop in branches of ALDI North and ALDI South, higherearners are the largest single group. Rich or poor, most of them are looking for clothes bargains. Yet what is a good deal for the customer is anything but a fair deal for the sewing workers involved in the manufacture of these goods. As the case studies from China and Indonesia in this brochure demonstrate, fundamental labour laws, in the case of ALDI’s Chinese suppliers, are being violated as never before.

The SÜDWIND Institute wishes to use this brochure to raise the awareness of consumers and trade unions in Germany of the social implications of ALDI’s global textile sourcing and to provide impulses for protest campaigns against this practice. This brochure also provides background information, in the form of a detailed portrait of the T&C retailer and discounter ALDI as well as an analysis of developments in the international trade in textiles and clothing since the phase-out of the WTO’s Agreement on Textiles and Clothing and the structural transformation in grocery retailing. It also gives ideas for a range of campaigning strategies, which can be addressed not only to ALDI itself, but also to political decision-makers.  

(Ingeborg Wick, 96 Pages)

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¿Herramienta de l@s Trabajador@s o Truco Publicitario? Una guía para los códigos de prácticas laborales internacionales

Art.-No.: 2006-01

Year of publication: 2006

Desde principios de la década de 1990, los códigos de conducta para las empresas multinacionales han proliferado. Es cada vez más difícil distinguir entre los diferentes modelos de código. Los trabajadores de todo el mundo se enfrentan a instrumentos nuevos que dicen mejorar sus condiciones de trabajo. ¿Cuáles son las ventajas y desventajas de los códigos de conducta? ¿De qué manera pueden ser instrumentos útiles para los sindicatos? ¿Cómo pueden los sindicatos y organizaciones no gubernamentales cooperar con relación a los códigos de conducta? ¿Cuáles son los rasgos principales de los ejemplos actuales de códigos y los resultados de una comparación entre ellos?

Esta publicación se centra en las características de los organismos de verificación de códigos Fundación Fair Wear, Iniciativa de Comercio
Ético (ETI), Asociación por el Trabajo Justo (FLA), Responsabilidad Social Internacional (SAI), Consorcio de los Derechos de los Trabajadores (WRC) y una comparación entre ellos. Además de un esbozo del contexto socioeconómico y otras iniciativas relacionadas con el comercio, esta publicación también contiene un análisis de las perspectivas sindicales sobre los códigos de conducta por la Confederación Internacional
de Organizaciones Sindicales Libres y la Federación Internacional de Trabajadores del Textil, Vestuario y Cuero.

(Ingeborg Wick, 75 Pages)

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Workers‘ tool or PR ploy? A guide to codes of international labour practice

Art.-No.: 2005-06

Year of publication: 2005

Since the early 1990s, codes of conduct for multinational corporations have been proliferating. It is increasingly difficult to distinguish between the different code models. Workers all over the world are confronted with new instruments which claim to improve their labour conditions. What are the pros and cons of codes of conduct? In which way can they be useful instruments for trade unions? How can trade unions and nongovernmental organisations cooperate with regard to codes of conduct? What are the main features of current code examples and the results of a comparison between them ?

This brochure concentrates on profiles of the code verification bodies Fair Wear Foundation, Ethical Trading Initiative, Fair Labor Association, Social Accountability International, Worker Rights Consortium and a comparison between them. Next to an outline of the socio-economic context and other trade-related initiatives, this publication also contains an analysis of the trade union perspectives on codes of conduct by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and the International Textile, Garment & Leather Workers‘ Federation.

(Ingeborg Wick, 71 Pages)

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Global game for Cuffs and Collars. The phase-out of the WTO Agreement on Textiles and Clothing aggravates social divisions

Art.-No.: 2004-06

Year of publication: 2004

At the end of 2004, the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will be phased out. As from the beginning of 2005, the quota regime, which has characterised the world trade in textiles and clothing in recent decades, will disappear. Textile and clothing exports of developing and Eastern European countries to industrialised countries will then no longer be subject to quantitative restrictions.

The textile and clothing industry is a perfect example of the contradictions and the development impasse inherent in the process of neo-liberal globalisation: Contrary to the logic of free trade, the industrialised countries have used it to enforce their protectionist interests. The “job miracle” in the third world was accompanied by precarious working conditions. Women, who constitute a high percentage of the workers in this industry, have largely been unable to improve their social status.

The liberalisation of the world market of textiles and clothing will be accompanied by sharp structural transformations. It will have a dramatic impact on numerous production countries and industries as well as on millions of workers. Whereas it appeared for a long time as if the quota regulation of the global trade in textiles and clothing has only protected the industries in developed countries, it has become increasingly obvious that it also allowed some developing countries to build up their own industries. Who, then, will consider the phase-out of the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing to be a risk rather than an opportunity? What are those risks and opportunities if you look at them closely? Which strategies should be developed to support the interests of the workers in the worldwide clothing industry?

This publication analyses the development of the textile and clothing trade in the framework of GATT and the WTO. It presents a series of country case studies as well as proposals for action. The two publishers consider this brochure to be a contribution to the work of the Clean Clothes Campaign which for many years has struggled to improve social standards in the international clothing industry.

(Dr. Sabine Ferenschild, Ingeborg Wick, 68 Pages)

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