Fashion victims: The Asian garment industry and globalisation

Fashion victims: The Asian garment industry and globalisation

Report looks at the impact of globalisation on the lives of garment workers in Asia. Urban Missionaries, a CAFOD partner in the Philippines, carried out research on the increasing use of temporary contracts in the garment industry. In Sri Lanka, People’s Forum for Development Alternatives (PEFDA) interviewed workers in the Kandy and Kurunegala areas. Research into the industry in China was carried out by Asia Monitor Resource Center (AMRC).

Garment retailers are rapidly adopting and improving such codes, but more needs to be done. However good codes look on paper, they will make no difference unless credible systems of independent monitoring are set up to ensure compliance. CAFOD is urging companies to join the new Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), which has been established to help them develop such systems

Key points:

  • Efforts by local workers, NGOs and trade unions are the most important factor in trying to improve wages and working conditions in Asia.
  • In Britain, consumers can support these efforts by pressing retailers and manufacturers to adopt codes of conduct for their third world suppliers.
  • This pressure works: clothing retailers are rapidly adopting and improving such codes, but more needs to be done.
  • If they are only paper promises, codes will make no real difference. Companies must set up credible systems of independent monitoring to ensure compliance with their codes.
  • CAFOD is urging companies to join the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), which has been established to help them develop such systems.

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