Big fashion brands supplying clothes from Bangladesh to the UK market are paying below market value, according to a major new survey of 1,000 Bangladeshi manufacturers released today.
Most of the Bangladeshi factories selling to 24 large international retailers reported paying the same prices in the two years since the outbreak began, even as raw material prices rose.
During the Covid-19 period, the study “Effects of Global Apparel Retailers’ Unfair Practices Against Bangladeshi Suppliers on Covid-19” reported that a large number of high street fashion brands buy from factories facing rising raw material prices, and nearly one in five are struggling to afford them. Pay the Bangladeshi minimum wage of £2.30 a day.
A total of 90% of high street brands buying from four or more factories were reported to be involved in unfair purchasing practices, according to a study by the University of Aberdeen and trade justice charity Transform Trade.
More than 50% of suppliers reported experiencing unfair procurement practices, with knock-on effects including cancellations, non-payment, late payment and rebate requests, forced overtime and harassment. Suppliers reported that larger brands that buy from multiple factories engaged in unfair purchasing practices more frequently than smaller brands. Every brand that buys from 15 or more factories is said to be participating in at least one of these activities.
Bangladesh is the world’s second largest exporter of garments, supplying millions of garments to the UK market.
“Two years after the outbreak, Bangladeshi garment workers were underpaid, one in five manufacturers were struggling to pay the minimum wage, and many fashion brands using Bangladeshi labor increased their profits,” said project leader Mohammad. Azizul Islam, Professor of Sustainability Accounting and Transparency at the University of Aberdeen Business School.
“Rising inflation around the world is likely to exacerbate this.”
The study found that after the ban, garment factories would employ only 75% of the workers they had before, suggesting that up to 900,000 workers could lose their jobs.
“This study is a wake-up call,” said Fiona Gooke, senior policy adviser at Transform Trade. “When retailers mistreat suppliers by breaking pre-agreed contracts, it’s the workers who suffer. If a retailer doesn’t pay the agreed amount or delays payment, the supplier has to cut costs in some other way, which is often passed on to workers. They have less power in the supply chain. With worse pay and conditions again Reports of disciplinary action, bullying and unpaid overtime are the predictable results. We need a fashion watchdog to oversee UK clothing retailers, similar to the existing supermarket watchdog.
“ALDI and LIDL’s grocery buying practices are regulated in the UK and European markets, but clothing purchases are not, which is why the unethical behavior continues. We need a fashion watchdog to stop the unacceptable buying practices of clothing retailers who profit from the big consumer. The market is the same as it is for food suppliers. When suppliers can plan ahead, they can provide good working conditions for their employees with the confidence that they will earn as expected.
About two-thirds of the factories reported receiving some financial support from the Bangladeshi government or Bangladeshi banks.
Twelve of the brands listed in the report are members of the Ethical Trading Initiative, which aims to promote workers’ rights around the world.
Professor Pamela Abbott, director of the Center for Global Development at the University of Aberdeen and co-investigator of the world, said: “Millions of fashion brands are taking their wealth out of some of the world’s poorest countries in the 21st century’s neo-colonialism. The project. “Due to the unequal power dynamics between suppliers and buyers, none of the suppliers who reported illegal contract violations in the survey took legal action to recover their losses.”
The ready-made garment industry accounts for 85% of Bangladesh’s export earnings and over 12 million Bangladeshis are dependent on the sector.
The study is available online: The Impact of Global Apparel Retailers’ Unfair Practices on Bangladeshi Suppliers During Covid-19
Presented by the University of Aberdeen
QuoteMajor High Street Fashion Brands Reportedly Paying Below Product Value (2023, January 9) Retrieved January 9, 2023, from https://phys.org/news/2023-01-major-high-street-fashion-brands.html.
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