INDONESIA: Wage trial claims "systemic" garment violations
A two-day public hearing staged to investigate pay and working conditions in Indonesian garment factories making clothes for Western brands and retailers has, perhaps not surprisingly, uncovered "systemic" human rights violations in the sector.
Judges at the People's Tribunal called for "urgent action" to be taken by a variety of stakeholders, including global brands.
The jury also acknowledged that "in recent years some progress has been made in tackling the challenges faced by workers in an industry dominated by a small number of buyers", but expressed their fears over "the lack of urgency and transparency" among brands.
Concerns were also expressed at existing legislation in Indonesia that makes suspension of the minimum wage a relatively easy process, and "one that is not uncommon."
"The fact that brands have become 'manufacturers without factories', does not mean they can shirk responsibility for the human right violations of the women who stitch their clothes," explained Mirjam van Heugten from Clean Clothes Campaign.
More than 100 garment workers from Indonesia were present at the tribunal, with five delivering testimonies.
A submission from fashion retailer H&M focused on the company's roadmap to a fair living wage - although the company admitted it had not tried to calculate a living wage figure.
Among their recommendations, the judges called for a living wage to be an inherent part of any sustainable corporate accountability framework.
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