Blog: Spotlight on labour rights
Leonie Barrie | 15 November 2005
One of the highlights of a new report from the Fair Labor Association (FLA) is a special feature on the elimination of the Multi-Fibre Arrangement, its impact on labour rights, and FLA’s response to ensure compliance with the FLA Workplace Code in China.
In its 2005 Public Report the FLA points out that when the quotas were eliminated on 1 January 2005, many foresaw a “doom-and-gloom” scenario, in which US and EU markets would be flooded by cheap Chinese imports, while hundreds of thousands of workers lost their jobs in countries that could no longer compete with China.
However, it says that contrary to popular belief, China is not the cheapest location:
“China’s export strength goes beyond nominal wage costs and to additional factors such as a large and acquiescent labor force, an undervalued currency, government investment in the industry, near self-sufficiency in the raw materials required for textile production, advanced business networks, and good shipping connections. China provides an example of a country characterised by both widespread non-observance of the labour law and increasing efforts to improve standards.
• The inconsistent enforcement of labour law has left certain sectors and groups of workers exposed to abuses.
• China adopted a general Labor Law in 1994 and more recently promulgated two pieces of legislation that could facilitate the development of democratic structures to represent workers in consultations and negotiation, although its legal structure still limits freedom of association.”
Interestingly, FLA monitoring results show that China is no closer to the bottom in terms of labour standards than a number of other sourcing destinations. And also, whereas a number of the other key sourcing countries or regions are characterised by defunct or failed systems of regulation, the Chinese government is still actively seeking to improve its system of labour market regulation and labour law enforcement.
Fresh from their disappointment at seeing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal abandoned last month with an executive order by President Donald Trump, the US apparel and footwear sector...
With the ultimate aim of ensuring all the cotton in its products is sourced sustainably, value clothing retailer Primark is adamant that having a business model focused on offering the lowest prices o...
Last week we marked the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States by taking a closer look at what's at stake for the textile and apparel trade – especially his promises t...
Continuing our look at what lies ahead for the apparel industry and its supply chain in 2017, the panel of industry experts consulted by just-style last week tackled likely shifts in the sourcing land...
- "Power of the many" drives change at Otto Group
- Hard hit Turkish industry is not knocked out
- China leads US apparel sources with falling prices
- US apparel sector braces for potential cost hikes
- Vietnam grows share of US apparel imports in 2016
- US Q4 in brief – Foot Locker, Nordstrom, Carter's
- JC Penney to close 140 stores amid lower sales
- Inditex and H&M boycott Dhaka Apparel Summit
- Bangladesh government steps in on labour crackdown
- Macy's will "do the right thing", says Lundgren
- When Things Go Wrong - A Practical Guide to Managing Common Problems in Apparel Sourcing
- Outdoor performance apparel 2016: A broader perspective
- Technical textile markets: product developments and innovations, December 2016
- Southeast Asia strategic sourcing review – a focus on Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar
- Global market review of lingerie – forecasts to 2022