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11 Nov 2020

Outreach to companies asking for disclosure of payment terms & internal policy commitments re. COVID-19 (Nov-Dec 2020)

Actions taken by fashion brands to protect their profits at the expense of worker rights have had profoundly negative impacts on vulnerable garment workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Brands have used their disproportionate power over factory suppliers to cancel agreed orders, pay suppliers substantially reduced prices for orders, or to grossly extend payment terms. These decisions have a devastating knock-on impact on the 60 million garment workers in fashion supply chains. Millions of workers have lost their jobs, have had months of unpaid wages, or have been forced to work for a fraction of their usual wage – an amount that has never been enough to cover a basic standard of living.

Labour rights advocates are appealing to brands to contribute to wage funds to make up for the wages that have been lost, estimated as $5.8 billion over just a three-month period from March – May.

In May 2020, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) conducted a survey of 35 fashion brands and retailers (26 responded) regarding their response to the pandemic as it related to garment workers. The questions and full set of survey responses and non-responses can be found here.

In November-December 2020, BHRRC undertook a follow-up survey with the original 35 companies and an additional 16, seeking responses from 51 companies (36 responded). The questions and full set of survey responses and non-responses can be found below.

The responses to both surveys informed our COVID-19 Apparel Action Tracker.