Worker’s case: Yamuna

37 year old Yamuna, worker, mother and union member of Garment Labour Union (GLU), testified about a factory producing for the middle man Bombay Rayon’s Fashions Ltd. which supplies to Gap, H&M, Abercrombi and Fitch, and Armani:

‘When I joined the industry, I was 14 years old and started earning to support my mother. As a helper my wage at that time was Rs.317/-. I was getting 75 paise for each hour of overtime.  I joined another factory as tailor and I was getting Rs.1000/-. Later I changed factories about three times. In 2001 I joined Vidya creation, a unit of Texport Overseas group of Companies.

I was not allowed to take my 6 month old baby to a factory crèche. After a long time, I got permission to take my child to the crèche, though the condition there was very bad. The Production Manager was very rude. He used to make us stand near the table for more than a week if we took leave without notice. He used to scold and scream in vulgar language. We were not able to see the day light at all, since we were working over time without wage till late evening. One day, I passed a garment piece without cutting the extra small threads. He called me and said ‘Have you forgotten to wear your saree [clothes red.] today..?  If not.. How can you forget to cut the thread..?’ I was shocked and felt ashamed that day.

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Indian garment industry receives human rights trial

Today marks the start of the third People’s Tribunal, a human rights trial held by garment workers’ unions and human rights groups to hear evidence of systematic human rights abuses in the Indian garment industry. The People’s Tribunal in India is the third of its kind to be held in Asia, the former being held in Sri Lanka and Cambodia.

Supplier factory owners, government and industry representatives, multinational brands including H&M, and over 100 factory workers will give evidence in front of a panel of judges from 3 continents on the topic poverty pay and poor working conditions. Wages below poverty levels are a ongoing problem in the Indian garment industry, which exports €7284 million of clothing for European consumers each year. The monthly minimum wage for garment workers in Bangalore is Rs 4472, (around €64), which is said to be only 43% of a living wage enough to support a family.

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