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Big brands’ pressure on suppliers leads to labour abuses

Big fashion brands are pressurising their suppliers to deliver more quickly and cheaply, which is contributing to labor abuses in factories that manufacture garments, footwear and textiles, according to a new report.

According to the report by Better Buying, a Delaware-based group that rates purchasing practices of brands and retailers, more than half of these surveyed supplied were affected by cost negotiation strategies that cut into their profits, These suppliers, in turn, put pressure on workers, leading to abuses. The impact of this on workers included excessive overtime, underpayment of benefits, insufficient wages, and use of unauthorised sub-contractors.

The index included ratings from 319 suppliers across 38 countries and measured the performance of 67 retailers and brands, including Esprit, Nike and Gap. Supplier ratings indicated that one third of buyers did not pay bulk order invoices on time. More than 20 per cent of the orders received from retailers or brands were not priced to cover the cost of social, environmental, quality and other compliance requirements.