“Dutch fashion retailers are paying “starvation wages” at factories in and around Bengaluru, India,” as per the report named “Doing Dutch,” co-authored by Clean Clothes Campaign, The India Committee of the Netherlands, Asia Floor Wage Alliance and Cividep India. The report revealed that workers surveyed at 10 garment factories took home on average US $ 100 a month, and 70 per cent were in debt.
The factories were supplying Dutch brands such as Coolcat, G-Star, The Sting, MEXX Europe, McGregor Fashions, Scotch & Soda, Suitsupply, WE Fashion and C&A that have “acknowledged the importance of living wages”.
The report pointed out that food and housing, usually a one-room apartment without a water tap and with a shared toilet outdoors, are the biggest expenses and workers cannot properly support their families with this wage.
It may be noted here that there are around 300,000 workers in and around Bengaluru and 80 per cent of the workers are women. “We expect garment companies to make a concrete plan for a living wage for all workers and to make sure that their procurement price enables the suppliers to pay a living wage,” said Gerard Oonk, Director, The India Committee of the Netherlands.
The factories surveyed reportedly responded to the report findings that procedures are being put in place to overcome the challenges with wages, overtime payment, working hours, crèche and hostel facilities for workers.
The Asia Floor Wage campaign pegged a decent living wage in India at US $ 282 per month last year. The US $ 40 billion Indian textile and garment industry employs an estimated 45 million workers.