The 2022 ITUC Global Rights Index reveals a number of apparel sourcing destinations sit in the top ten list, including Bangladesh, Myanmar, Egypt, the Philippines, and Turkey.

The world’s ten worst countries to work and apparel sourcing hotspots

  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Egypt
  • Eswatini
  • Guatemala
  • Myanmar
  • The Philippines
  • Turkey

Report authors claim workers’ rights in Bangladesh continue to be “severely curtailed”, with the paper noting regressive laws, obstacles to union formation, and police violence as some of the reasons behind its place in the top ten.

The report points to the county’s garment sector, which is its largest industry employing more than 4.5m workers, where authors says ttempts at forming unions were “relentlessly obstructed”, while strikes were met with extreme brutality by industrial police.

Repressive laws, prosecution of strikers, and union-busting and dismissals are also listed as the main reasons Egypt is in the top ten list.

The report claims workers in Egypt remained deprived of their basic rights and freedoms at work, while many independent trade unions were still seeking re-registration after their arbitrary dissolution in 2018. New laws were introduced in 2021 to further curtail freedom of speech and assembly, the authors add.

Brutal repression of strikes and protests, arbitrary arrests, and killings were all listed as significant reasons why Myanmar is one of the worst places to work in the world.

Since its military coup on 1 February 2021 and the repression of subsequent pro-democracy protests, widespread and systematic human rights abuses have continued in the country, the report says.

The Philippines
Violence and murders, arrests during strikes and state repression is the summary provided for why The Philippines is in the list for being one of the worst places to work, according to the Global Rights Index.

It states workers and their representatives in the country remained particularly vulnerable to violent attacks, intimidation, and arbitrary arrests.

Report authors point to repression of strikes, arrests of trade unionists, and systematic union-busting in Turkey, adding in 2022, workers’ freedoms and rights continued to be denied, including with police crackdowns on protests.

How did other leading sourcing countries fair in the rating system?

The Index selects the world’s worst countries by rating them on a scale from 1 to 5+ on the degree of respect to workers’ rights, with violations recorded each year from April to March.

5+ rating
Myanmar received the worst rating of 5+, which the Index defines as: “No guarantee of rights due to the breakdown of the rule of law.”

5 rating
The rating of 5, which means there is no guarantee of rights, was awarded to apparel sourcing hotspots including China, Bangladesh, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, Brazil, Egypt, Turkey, and Cambodia.

4 rating
The systematic violations of rights rating (4) was also given to a number of well-known apparel sourcing countries, including Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Ethiopia. Tthe US was also given a 4 rating.

3 rating
El Salvador and Mexico were awarded a rating of 3, which means regular of violations of rights takes place.

2 rating
Some of the leading apparel sourcing hotspots in Europe were listed in the lower rankings of 2 (repeated violations of rights), including Portugal, Slovakia, and Spain.

1 rating
Italy, Sweden, Germany and Finland were among the countries ranked 1 (sporadic violations of rights).

Click here to read the report in full.