Global protest against big brands which don't pay living wages to Cambodian garment workers

September 15, 2014

According to Tailored Wages Report — Are the Big Brands Paying the People Who Make Our Clothes Enough to Live On? published by the Clean Clothes Campaign and the Asia Floor Wage Alliance on March 2014, only four of 50 big brand multinational clothing and footwear companies contacted were able to demonstrate they had taken any steps that might lead to improved wages for the Cambodian workers who make many of their expensive fashion products.

The report also pointed out that none of the companies surveyed are as yet paying a living wage to these workers.

A call for global solidarity action on September 17 follows Cambodian unions' general strike to increase the national minimum wage in January, in which 5 workers were killed, 40 seriously injured and 25 workers arrested.

“Despite the violence and repression, Cambodian garment workers are continuing to fight to lift the minimum wage from US$100 to US$177/month for workers who produce for international brands like Levi's, Adidas and GAP who profit from the poverty wages and sweatshop conditions in Cambodia”, Joyce Fu, the organiser of a solidarity action to be held in Sydney, told Green Left Weekly.

The action — organised mainly through internet social networks — will take place at 12 noon outside the Westfield Shopping Centre in the heart of Sydney's central shopping district. It will coincide with a garment workers' protest in Cambodia on the same day as the government, factory managers and labour leaders meet over the minimum wage.

Australian trade unionists will also be holding a protest in Canberra outside the Cambodian Embassy on the same day at 11 am.

“For our demonstration in Sydney tomorrow, we are going to commend ZARA/Inditex for being one of the four big brands who have taken some steps to make sure their workers are paid a living wage and have freedom of association, based on the findings of the Tailored Wages Report. We will encourage that company to do more.

“Our main targets will be GAP, Adidas, Levi's and Puma. Especially GAP, which has done the least to improve wages for workers making its clothes, and Levi's, for doing very little to improve wages in its supply chain.”

According to the Tailored Wages Report, GAP scored only 6 out of 40, Adidas scored only 10 out of 40 , Puma scored 12 and Levi's didn't even respond to the survey.

[See Facebook event page here.]

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