Working Conditions in the Textile Manufacturing Chain

Serious labour law violations in the global textile- and clothing industry with mostly female employees are daily fare. A great number of the employees are working under informal conditions. Their work is not socially protected and poverty is commonly present. More than half of the informally employed workers are women. Important leverage points in the last decades in order to reduce working and social standards have been the proliferation of “Free Trade Zones”, the growing employment of migrants, as well as the liberalization of the global textile trade. On all steps of the textile value chain – from the cultivation of cotton, to its spinning and weaving, the processing of the textiles and their packaging – informal labour conditions are present and common. SÜDWIND examines those working conditions and the ones of formally employed workers in alliance with partner organisations from the producer countries.

SÜDWIND participates in the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) since the global network was founded. To improve the working conditions in the textile industry, CCC informs consumers, influences companies, supports worker's organisations in conflicts and starts political campaigns.


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.


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