Ethiopia: Garment workers report pay cuts, unpaid & forced overtime at Indochine Apparel and KGG Garments factories; Incl. brands' responses
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, garment workers at Indochine Apparel PLC and KGG Garments PLC factories in Hawassa, Ethiopia, are allegedly being subject to unpaid, forced overtime and pay cuts. In December 2020, workers reported that in recent months they had been made to work unpaid overtime to make up capacity after hundreds of workers did not return to their jobs after they were furloughed at the start of the pandemic. Workers also report concerns over a lack of COVID-19 safety precautions in the factories.
KGG Garments PLC and Indochine Apparel PLC have denied the workers’ allegations of unpaid, forced overtime and said their factories had not closed during the pandemic. H&M, Levi Strauss & Co. and PVH are publicly named as buyers of Indochine Apparel, while The Children's Place is also named as sourcing from the factories.
In January 2021, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) invited the buyers to respond. The Children's Place did not respond. Levi Strauss & Co, H&M and PVH responded and the responses can be found below. Levi Strauss said Indochine Apparel has been paying workers on time for their work and for overtime when applicable, which it has been tracking through its supplier code of conduct and regular assessments. H&M said no evidence of unpaid or forced overtime had been found from its visit to Indochine in November 2020, or by Better Work in December. PVH also pointed to Better Work's findings in its response. BHRRC then invited Better Work to respond to the allegations. Better Work said it had conducted assessments at Indochine in December 2020 and KGG in January 2019.
This case is featured in BHRRC's report, Wage theft and pandemic profits: The right to a living wage for garment workers, released in March 2021. Following the report launch, The Children's Place responded pointing to Better Work's findings and its own engagement with the factory managers who denied the allegations.