HAITI: Gildan Activewear commits to minimum wage
Gildan said it will monitor compliance at its third-party contractors
Apparel maker Gildan Activewear has vowed to ensure workers contracted to make its clothing in Haiti earn the minimum wage of HTG300 (US$7) per eight-hour day.
The company's pledge comes after garment factories in Haiti supplying top brands and retailers were last month accused of minimum wage violations that routinely deprive workers of nearly one-third of their pay.
Taking into account underpayment for regular working hours (exclusive of overtime), the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) claimed workers were being cheated of more than 20% of their wages.
In a statement to just-style, Gildan said only a small percentage of its production is subcontracted to third party sewing contractors Haiti - adding that it has implemented a series of price increases with each of its contractors in the country over the last year to ensure the payment of the HTG300 is respected.
Each of Gildan's agreements with third party contractors include compliance with its Code of Conduct as a condition, the company added.
"We will not accept a situation where one of our contractors is not respecting our Code of Conduct and the laws of the countries in which they operate. This position has been clearly communicated to our contractors."
The bulk of Gildan's operations are in Central America, including Honduras and Nicaragua, and in the Dominican Republic, where it owns and operates vertically integrated, large-scale manufacturing facilities.
The company, which manufactures T-shirts, socks, underwear and sportswear, said it will monitor compliance at its third-party contractors based on the same measure and methodology applied by the ILO Better Work programme in Haiti.
"Understanding that this is an industry-wide issue, Gildan is further prepared to proactively participate in an industry-wide meeting and other combined efforts, involving brands, retailers and worker representatives similarly committed to ensuring compliance, in order to bring a common resolution to this issue in a manner which will appropriately address the working conditions in the apparel industry," the company added.
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