Factory closures are commonplace in the global garment industry. They are often preceded by major buyers cutting off orders, without warning or explanation to the workers, most of them women. The consequences for workers and their families in each case are dire. Clean Clothes Campaign believes to deny these workers payment is tantamount to wage theft and calls on all brands involved to ensure workers receive what they are owed.
International standards, like the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, are crystal clear – brands retain full responsibility for their supply chains. Yet, big brands continue to deny their responsibility and offer voluntary hardship payments that leave workers locked out of the negotiating table and dependent on these handouts.
Multinational enterprises are expected to assess the risk that any withdrawal of business may have to ongoing operations of their supplier, and attempt to address potential negative aspects prior to withdrawal. The widespread problem of factory closures and resulting wage and severance theft has been placed firmly on the agenda of the media and investors. This is an issue which affects thousands of garment workers worldwide and demonstrates the power and importance of solidarity between workers and consumers alike.