Workers at garment factories in India producing for Dutch fashion brands are exploited, says Clean Clothes Campaign the India Committee of the Netherlands. While the living wage for workers in India is about Rs 19,000, more than a third of these workers are paid less than Rs 7,500. These factories produce garments for Dutch brands such as C&A, Coolcat, G-Star, McGregor, MEXX, Scotch & Soda, Suitsupply, Mills Brothers, Hallinger and WE Fashion.
There are about 10 such factories, in South India. The garments they make are bought by Dutch consumers, who often don’t know about the sweatshop conditions workers are made to toil in. Brands are not transparent about where their garments are made. Most workers cannot properly support their families with this wage. Food and housing, usually a one-room apartment without water tap, with a shared toilet outdoors, are the biggest expenses. Almost everyone would like to buy healthier and more varied food, but is unable to do that because of low wages.
Almost 80 per cent of garment factory workers are women, who are more docile than men. When pregnant, they are often pressured to resign. Women with children are discouraged from working.