AFWA, labour unions file legal complaint against H&M in Bengaluru for alleged violations in 2020
The Asia Floor Wage Alliance has joined forces with several local labor unions to file a complaint against fashion giant H&M in Bengaluru for alleged labour abuses at a supplier factory for the brand in 2020.
The legal complaints against H&M arose from a report by AFWA which it launched at its online event on July 7, according to the AFWA website. The report was titled ‘Money Heist: Covid-19 Wage Theft in Global Garment Supply Chains’ and looked at alleged labour violations in the garment industry in countries including India and Sri Lanka by brands including Levi’s, Asics, DKNY, and H&M, among others.
Using the findings in its report, AFWA has filed a legal complaint in Bengaluru to request that H&M be held jointly liable for what it alleges were labour abuses at one of its garment supplier factories. AFWA argues that H&M had full control of the factory workers’ subsistence and continued employment. Many garment workers faced destitution when clothing companies cancelled orders last year due to the pandemic and they faced no work and no pay without a safety net.
“Although it is our suppliers who employ the garment workers, we as a large company have a responsibility to do our utmost to contribute to a good dialogue between trade unions and suppliers to help them come to an agreement if conflicts arise,” said H&M in a statement about the legal complaint, the Guardian reported.
The result of the Bengaluru case could set a precedent for future cases in determining the legal responsibilities large brands are seen to have in relation to their supplier factories. AFWA aims to have an increased legal responsibility placed on brands to ensure that workers are not exploited at any point in their supply chains.
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