Ukraine, Serbia & Hungary: Report by Clean Clothes Campaign details poverty wages & poor working conditions in garment factories producing for global brands; incl. co responses

The report "Europe's Sweatshops" published by Clean Clothes Campaign documents poverty wages and poor working conditions in the garment and shoe industry throughout Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. The report is presented together with new country research into the situation of workers in Ukraine, Serbia and Hungary. The factories featured in the report produce for many global brands, upon whom Clean Clothes Campaign is calling to start paying a living wage and to work with suppliers to improve working conditions.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the 53 brands named as sourcing from the countries featured in the report to comment, of which 19 responded: Arcadia, Armani, Burberry, Decathlon, Gucci, H&M, Marks&Spencer, Peter Hahn, PVH, s.Oliver, Schoeffel, Tesco, Versace, Esprit, Asos, Adidas, Hugo Boss, Inditex, C&A.

The following companies did not respond to our invitation to comment: Aster Textile, Bäumler, Benetton, Calzedonia, Dolce&Gabbana, Ermenegildo Zegna, Falc, Falcotto, Falke, Fori Textile, Geox, Golden Lady Company, Kirsten, Liz Claiborne, LVMH, Mango, Mart Visser, Max Mara Fashion Group, Mexx, Naturino, Next, Oui Gruppe, Peek&Cloppenburg, Pompea, Prada, Saint James, Schiesser, Stella McCartney, Steps, Strenesse, Triumph, Vero Moda, Wagner, Walbusch. 

All responses/non-responses are available below.

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Company non-response
19 December 2017

Naturino did not respond

Company non-response
19 December 2017

Next did not respond

Company non-response
19 December 2017

Oui Gruppe did not respond

Company non-response
19 December 2017

Peek&Cloppenburg did not respond

Company non-response
19 December 2017

Pompea did not respond

Company non-response
19 December 2017

Prada did not respond

Company response
19 December 2017

Response by adidas

Author: adidas

...Thank you for providing us with an opportunity to comment on the Clean Clothes Campaign’s (CCC’s) recently published ‘Made in Europe’ report. Below you will find a brief description of our general approach to fair wages - which is the central issue in the CCC report – and an explanation of the wage-setting processes we have pursued in Georgia and the Ukraine...

We have sought to address and improve supplier wages in Eastern Europe through wage assessments and in-country collaborations...

We have conducted a [...] wage benchmarking exercise in the Ukraine... We reached out to the Ukrainian statistics office to obtain nationwide wage data and, in parallel, conducted wage surveys in each of our partner’ factories. From the combined data, we created a wage map. The mapping showed that our manufacturing partners were already paying a prevailing industry wage, one that was significantly higher than the legal minimum wage. The research also confirmed that our suppliers had taken it upon themselves to absorb the costs of a mandatory ‘war tax’ that was being levied against employees. They did so, to safeguard the workers’ take-home pay. 

We trust these examples demonstrate the positive approach we take to the question of fair wages in our supply chain in Eastern Europe. 

Download the full document here

Company response
19 December 2017

Response by Arcadia

Author: Arcadia

Thank you for your email regarding manufacturing in Europe; we read the report with interest when it was published. Our sourcing from this area is very small and we currently don’t have any production taking place in Georgia, Hungary, Serbia or Ukraine. In future, if or when we do place orders with factories in these countries we will discuss your report findings with the factory management and do all we can to ensure the correct wages are being paid to the workers.

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Company response
19 December 2017

Response by Armani

Author: Armani

...We received your mail and your enquiry on some Eastern Europe productions, in which some serious human rights abuses were reported. Following your enquiry, the Armani Group, which has been and is actively working on all CSR aspects of its production and supply chain, has increased its attention and its efforts in the area, where an additional audit program is being implemented. It’s our priority to identify and solve any possible critical issue that could emerge...

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Article
19 December 2017

Response by Asos

Author: Asos

...ASOS thank the BHRRC and Clean Clothes Campaign for the opportunity to provide comment on the ‘Made in Europe – the ugly truth’ report published 9 November 2017.

ASOS take the issue of worker wages in our supply chain extremely seriously. Alongside our commitment as ETI members to ensure all our suppliers meet the standards of the ETI base code, we are also founding members of the ACT Foundation a pioneering agreement between brands, retailers and trade unions to achieve living wages for workers through industry wide collective bargaining and purchasing practices. The named regions are not currently strategic sourcing regions for ASOS, we have a relatively small supply base in the area and limited resource to conduct audits ourselves. We operate a third party audit programme and are monitoring the issues raised in this report closely. Should these regions become key sourcing hubs for ASOS, we will immediately review our programme and increase capacity accordingly...

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