abusesaffiliationarrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upattack-typeburgerchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upClock iconclosedeletedevelopment-povertydiscriminationdollardownloademailenvironmentexternal-linkfacebookfiltergenderglobegroupshealthC4067174-3DD9-4B9E-AD64-284FDAAE6338@1xinformation-outlineinformationinstagraminvestment-trade-globalisationissueslabourlanguagesShapeCombined Shapeline, chart, up, arrow, graphLinkedInlocationmap-pinminusnewsorganisationotheroverviewpluspreviewArtboard 185profilerefreshIconnewssearchsecurityPathStock downStock steadyStock uptagticktooltiptwitteruniversalityweb

Diese Seite ist nicht auf Deutsch verfügbar und wird angezeigt auf English


7 Feb 2022

Mayu Saini, Sourcing Journal

India: Garment workers set to receive back wages, as union proposes greater engagement during the pandemic between suppliers, brands & workers

"Indian Garment Workers Inching Toward Wage-Theft Win", 7 February 2022

The uncertainty and stalling over compensation for garment workers in India’s Karnataka appears to be coming to an end.

Pending payments are set to be released by Thursday, including back wages to more than 80,000 workers at Shahi Exports...The region’s clothing manufacturers association called for members to pay workers the full Variable Dearness Allowance (VDA) this month and expeditiously compensate them for all arrears owed dating back to April 2021.

Variable dearness allowance (VDA) is the component announced each year to compensate for the changing consumer price index.

After months of pressure from global worker unions as well as brands and manufacturers sourcing from this Southern Indian hub, including C&A, Gap, H&M and Benetton, the payments issue seems to have found a resolution.

In a letter to the brands late last week, the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) noted that although the matter was still awaiting a verdict from the High Court in Karnataka, “it had been decided to proceed ahead with the VDA of 417.60 rupees for 2021-22, primarily with the object of ensuring workers well-being, given the indefiniteness involved.”...

“The context needs to be understood,” said Naseer Humayun, regional secretary, Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI). “Due to the unprecedented impact of the pandemic and national lockdown...the provincial government of Karnataka deferred payment of the Variable Dearness Allowance in July 2020 for 82 scheduled employments, including the garment sector. Some trade unions filed a case in the High Court of Karnataka in Aug 2020, following which, the position taken by the industry was that the judicial verdict needs to be made as the matter is sub-judice,”...

“However, given the indefiniteness of the situation, we took a tough call to pay now,” he said, adding that although worker well-being was a priority, there were also concerns about “the long-term financial impact of this as there are very small manufacturers who operate in this segment and the resultant economic impact [is worrisome].”

“Unfortunately, without understanding the situation, some Western trade unions have made it a point to target the manufacturing sector in India. We wish they would focus more on getting a fair price for manufacturers so that better wages could be paid to workers here,” he said.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) urged full compensation for workers, on Wednesday writing to CMAI to “establish a hard deadline for payment of any arrears even in the event that the court does not issue a decision soon so that workers are fully compensated as soon as possible.”...

Although the CMAI has played an active role in the negotiations, CMAI chief mentor Rahul Mehta said associations can’t dictate what their members do...

“For example, in the case of wages, associations cannot force members to pay more than the minimum wages prescribed by law in their respective country,” he said. “I would say the buyers have to accept that their vendor partners should follow the laws of their particular country and that should suffice. If they have higher requirements, then it has to be between them and their supply chain partners,” Mehta said.

This channel of communication has become crucial during Covid-19, changing the lives of the workers in Karnataka.

As the Karnataka Garment Workers Union (KOOGU) proposed during this process—that the three main parties in the global supply chain, workers, suppliers and international brands—do need to work together to find solutions as the pandemic continues to impact the world.