Blog: Leonie BarrieWhere in the world is worst for worker rights?

Leonie Barrie | 15 July 2019

An annual survey of violations of human and trade union rights ranks key apparel producing nations including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, Guatemala, the Philippines and Turkey among the ten worst countries in the world for worker rights.

The recent decision by Vietnam's National Assembly to ratify one of the International Labour Organization's (ILO) fundamental conventions to promote collective bargaining sends "a strong signal" to the country's garment industry and could lead to higher productivity in the sector.

The ILO has also launched a programme to promote decent work and inclusive industrialisation in Ethiopia – with an initial focus on the garment and textile industries.

Tunisia is underpinning its success as a jeans supplier by promoting its quality specialist production that employs sustainable environmental and social practices.

While unions in Myanmar are calling for a living wage for the country's garment workers – and are urging more brands and retailers to support the Action, Collaboration, Transformation (ACT) living wage initiative.

But a new survey also notes that while fashion brands must urgently accelerate efforts to reach the remaining targets of the 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment, progress is being hampered by a lack of high-quality fibre-to-fibre recycling solutions.

The German government has been accused of trying to weaken measures that would track how well companies in the country identify and respond to possible human rights abuses in their supply chains.

And new concerns have surfaced about the impact on workers in Turkey from chemicals used in the denim bleaching process

Rising temperatures and intensifying levels of heat stress are set to impede worker productivity and hit export revenues over the next decade – with many of the world's 66m textile and clothing workers likely to be impacted.

And with online shopping set to double to account for more than 50% of UK retail sales in the next decade – there are also potential risks ahead for retailers that don't prioritise data security.

Meanwhile, in other news, Nike is to expand its US manufacturing footprint; Under Armour has digitised its fit forms to create a range of 3D digital avatars; and M&S clothing boss Jill McDonald has been ousted after less than two years the role.

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