Can Türkiye’s textile trade bounce again?

A report by Clear Garments Marketing campaign (CCC), launched in January, advised that the earthquake exacerbated and uncovered already tough working circumstances and violations of staff’ rights within the textile sector, together with issues associated to well being and security, cases of harassment and insufficient wages.

These points have been recognized in different exporting nations. “In international locations that rely closely on the garment trade, we see folks with none actual social security web and for an trade that produces billions of {dollars} of revenue yearly, it’s indicative of a system that’s severely damaged. It generates a lot wealth, however you might have folks working throughout the provide chain the place if a catastrophe occurs, they don’t have anything to fall again on,” says Elizabeth L Cline, lecturer of vogue coverage at Columbia College.

Following the Türkiye earthquake, greater than half of the respondents to the CCC survey reported harm to their properties and stated each factories and the federal government failed to offer enough help. “One 12 months later, tens of hundreds of staff and their households nonetheless stay in containers in these areas with little hope of securing everlasting housing within the foreseeable future,” says Mehmet Türkmen, president of staff’ union Birtek-Sen.

Simply over a 3rd of staff who responded to the CCC survey additionally stated they obtained no wages throughout enforced break day work. ITHIB refuted these claims. “The factories of lots of our companies have been inoperable, regardless of extreme operational disruptions, quite a few corporations continued to pay their staff for months, reflecting a deep-seated respect for labour rights and the human facet of the trade,” says Öksüz. “Whereas the trade as a complete is dedicated to upholding the very best requirements, particular person cases of non-compliance or shortcomings don’t outline the whole sector. It isn’t attainable for staff to be victimised in a sector the place social compliance and sustainability audits are multifaceted.”

Türkmen of Birtek-Sen claims important motion is never taken over grievances. “If a problem is reported to a model, it takes some manufacturers weeks earlier than they reply — and weeks for a garment employee is a substantial period of time. It ends in monetary losses for them in the event that they’ve been wrongfully terminated or are putting earlier than a problem is resolved,” he says.

The position of manufacturers

Türkmen emphasises that these challenges persist as a result of manufacturers hardly ever go to or conduct audits, remaining largely disconnected from the processes throughout the factories with which they’re contracted. For garment staff, there may be apprehension concerning the future. “If orders begin to improve, it is going to solely imply extra strain on staff, which in flip results in worsening circumstances and decrease wages,” Türkmen warns.

Regardless of the documented efforts of world vogue corporations to deal with the aftermath of the catastrophe and to forestall the mistreatment of weak staff, surveys carried out by the Enterprise & Human Rights Useful resource Centre (BHRRC) and the Center Japanese Technical College (METU) concerning their buying practices revealed responses thought-about unsatisfactory.

Whereas union membership is legally permitted in Türkiye, garment staff nonetheless face repercussions for becoming a member of an unbiased union like Birtek-Sen. Final November, practically 500 staff from Özak Tekstil, a serious attire producer and provider to Levi Strauss, protested at a manufacturing facility in Urfa after a colleague was dismissed for switching unions on the finish of final 12 months — many have been sacked.

“The actual challenge is the facility imbalance within the provide chain. It could actually override nationwide legal guidelines as a result of governments can really feel pressured to look the opposite method in terms of their very own labour legal guidelines simply because they’re petrified of dropping enterprise,” says Columbia College’s Cline. “You will have these terribly highly effective manufacturers on the high of the provision chain [with] all of those incentives for manufacturers to not likely present actual duty.”

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