International Women’s Day. Engagement for women and workers in south India
On today’s World Women’s Day a delegation from the Partnership Initiative Tamil Nadu visits the south Indian state of the same name. It works on-site on the improvement of the working conditions in the textile industry with the implementation partners and in dialogue with representatives of all actors in the local textile industry.
For about nine months, the following members of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles have been involved in the Partnership Initiative: HUGO BOSS, KIK, OTTO GROUP, Tchibo, FEMNET, the BMZ, Transfair, and Brands Fashion.
About 80% of the workers, who work in spinning mills, are women. Often, they receive wages below the official minimum wage, have to do excessive overtime hours, and suffer from sexual harassment. Furthermore, the formation of trade unions and the freedom of association are suppressed.
Mary Vijakula, from the local implementation partner SAVE, reaffirms great importance to the Partnership of Sustainable Textiles. Often, young women cannot openly claim their rights: “It is a great step forward that the Initiative of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles directly involves the young women inside the factory in setting up an appropriate mechanism to provide redress for grievances.” (You can find the whole Interview with Mary here.)
What has been achieved so far: 61 spinning mills signed an agreement to conduct trainings. About 3,500 workers have been informed about their rights due to the trainings. In cooperation with the management of the factories, in the end of the training sessions compliance committees will be established and accompanied in their committee work.
Next steps: By the end of February 2020, training programs will be conducted in up to 300 factories. In addition to that, the dialogue between local actors will continuously be strengthened through the multi-stakeholder initiative Tamil Nadu (MSI-TN) – also in direct contact with members of the Textiles Partnership.
The first milestones on the way to improve the working conditions have been achieved. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go to achieve the initiative’s ambitious goals.
Further information about the Partnership Initiative can be found here.