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11 Aug 2021

Clean Clothes Campaign

Clean Clothes Campaign rejoinder to Sri Lanka Joint Apparel Association Forum response to 'Still Un(der) Paid' Report

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Clean Clothes Campaign rejoinder to Sri Lanka Joint Apparel Association Forum response to 'Still Un(der) Paid Report', 11 August 2021

...This extensive report has been based on comprehensive desk research and works with numbers that are available in online sources. In an opaque and complex industry like the garment industry, with various definitions of who is a garment worker, as well as a prevalence of unregistered work, we often had to choose between competing numbers from different sources. We believe we have made a genuine effort to come with credible numbers and estimations for a great many countries based on many sources...

...Unfortunately, garment supply chains lack transparency and for this reason we often have had to rely on estimations.

We always checked the websites of Ministries of Labour and the ILO for the latest statistics on garment industry workforce numbers. In the case of Sri Lanka, no recent data was available, hence why we relied on media statements from the apparel association and trade unions.

The number of workers in the Sri Lanka apparel industry that we used...is an estimate based on the wide range of estimates available. For example, JAAF’s own Sri Lanka Apparel website in an article from October 2020 says that the industry employs nearly 350,000 people directly and twice as many indirectly; while an April 2020 JAAF chairman statement said there were “over 400,000 direct employees,” and another leadership statement on the same website mentioned an apparel workforce of over 560,000...

In other places where JAAF challenges our numbers, the organization fails to provide alternative numbers...

We would be glad to take the opportunity to work with JAAF and independent labour economists to access all available sources of information and determine the most accurate information possible for Sri Lanka, and discuss how we can ensure that the wage and job loss are properly compensated.