workers' rights

Global clothing brands vow to improve Bengaluru workers’ living conditions

Apparel giants said they will coordinate with local trade unions to address the workers’ grievances, after a Dutch NGO reported the factories lacked basic amenities such as beds and clean water.

Global clothing companies that own brands such as Zara, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein have vowed to improve the lives of workers employed in Bengaluru garment factories, after a report exposed the terrible conditions they live in and their low wages. The clothing companies said they will coordinate with local trade unions to provide training and address the grievances of the workers, reported Reuters.

The report by Dutch non-governmental organisation India Committee of the Netherlands said that hostels run by the Bengaluru factories lacked basic amenities such as beds and clean water. It added that workers earned between 95 euros (around Rs 7,000) and 115 euros (around Rs 8,500) per month, which is just above the official minimum wage.

The report was based on interviews of 110 migrant workers at four garment factories in the city. With around 1,200 garment factories in and around the city, Bengaluru is considered a hub for apparel exporters and attracts migrants seeking better economic prospects.

The living conditions of garment factory workers in South Asia came under scrutiny after the 2013 Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, in which 1,135 workers were killed. Several of them were employed with suppliers of Western retailers.

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