US clothing brands and retailers have joined hands in calling for the establishment of a minimum wage for textile workers in India’s Tamil Nadu state.
A joint letter signed by brands including PVH, VF Corporation, Hugo Boss, Esprit, Ralph Lauren, Gap Inc, and Levi Strauss & Co – in addition to the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), and Fair Labor Association – welcomes the establishment of a Minimum Wages Committee for the Textile Industry by the Government of Tamil Nadu but urges it to establish a meaningful minimum wage for textile workers in the state that aligns with International Labor Organization (ILO) standards.
“A minimum wage is essential for both workers and the future of the Tamil Nadu textile and garment industry,” the letter states.
“As global fashion brands and retailers, we believe the establishment of a minimum wage that meets international standards and guidance established by the ILO on wage-setting will help to position Tamil Nadu as a responsible sourcing destination. We urge the Committee to base the minimum wage on ILO C131 (Minimum Wage Fixing Convention) and its accompanying recommendation R135 (Minimum Wage Fixing Recommendation).”
Further, it urges the Committee to consider other key factors in determining a minimum wage, including:
- the needs of workers and their families;
- the general level of wages in India;
- the cost of living and inflation
- social security benefits; and
- the relative living standards of other social groups and economic factors, including the requirements of economic development, levels of productivity and the desirability of attaining and maintaining a high level of employment.
“Therefore, we again urge the Committee to establish a robust minimum wage consistent with international standards and taking into account above-referenced factors. The establishment of a minimum wage that embodies these principles will not only help workers and sustain this critical industry but ensure that Tamil Nadu’s textile and garment industry stands out as one of the best in India.”
Other signatories include Amer Sports, Basic Resources, Inc, Bella + Canvas, The Children’s Place, and Stitch Fix.