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Garment workers in Eastern European underpaid for work

Garment workers in Poland and the Czech Republic are underpaid and forced to work long hours. Production sites in Poland and the Czech Republic produce for high-priced brands, but workers just earn the legal minimum wage or less. Very little of the profits actually trickle down to the workers.

In addition to low wages, workers are forced to do overtime which is often unpaid and an environment that harms the health of workers. The state of pay in the clothing industry has a lot to do with the fact that most workers are women. Even after 20 years of work, some still earn the minimum wage and don’t get overtime bonus paid according to the law.

Workers are under constant pressure because of the quick turnovers brands demand from the factories. They are afraid to speak about working conditions for risk of losing their job. Factories are pressured by buyers and brands on purchasing prices and conditions, primarily with threats of loss of orders. In the overwhelming majority of the factories no unions are active.

Garment wages are the lowest of all industrial sector wages, even though it is an important sector for employment and exports. Between 70 and 90 per cent of production in both countries is exported.