Latest report on workplace safety slams GAP, H&M, Walmart

H&M Garment Worker
Image Courtesy: hm.com

The Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) has come up with three separate reports that claim that the women workers who work at the supplier units of leading fashion retail players like H&M, GAP Inc. and Walmart are at risk of assault, sexual abuse and other harassment every day.

Notably, AFWA is a global coalition of trade unions, worker and human rights that is actively working to enhance the lives of garment factory workers in the Asian countries.

The reports by the association claim to have the evidence based on the investigation that took place between January and May this year in nine production hubs across India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Cambodia that proves gender-based violence taking place in H&M, Walmart and GAP Inc. apparel supplying factories.

Markedly, AFWA’s investigation in India included factory workers from four cities –Bengaluru, Gurugram, Tirupur and Haryana, the key apparel clusters in the country.

Anannya Bhattacharjee, International Coordinator, AFWA reportedly said that the multi-billion dollar companies have failed their workers, employers and consumers.

AFWA has even presented the results of their investigation to ILO (International Labour Organisation).

The Clean Clothes Campaign, a campaign that aims towards improving the working conditions and empowerment of workers in the global apparel industry, also expressed its concern over the matter and said that these reports are not just a worrying sign for the three mentioned brands but it is also a reality-check for the whole garment industry.

H&M reportedly spoke on the issue and said ‘the company believes that violence against women is one of the most rampant human rights violations, this investigation clearly suggests the need of continuously addressing such situations’. “We will go through every section of the report and follow up on factory-level with our local teams based in each production country,” the retailer maintained.

It remains to be seen, how ILO and all the three respective brands act on this issue that is constantly tarnishing the image of the industry.