Fashion Revolution launches ‘Out of Sight’
Today, Fashion Revolution is supporting the Tamil Nadu Alliance in the launch of the Tamil Nadu Declaration and Framework of Action, which calls upon major fashion brands and retailers to do more to tackle exploitative working conditions within textile spinning mills in the region and expand transparency to cover all textiles production sites in their supply chains.
The Tamil Nadu Alliance is a coalition of civil society networks, representing over 100 grassroots organisations, working to improve the conditions of workers in the textile supply chain in Tamil Nadu. The global fashion industry is a vital source of jobs across southern India, employing approximately 280,000 workers, particularly young women.
Excessive and involuntary overtime, extremely low wages, physical and sexual violence and restriction of freedom of movement – many of which are indicators of forced labour – have been documented by civil society groups for many years. This is why more urgent and collaborative action is needed to improve the situation for workers in the industry.
The declaration calls upon major fashion brands and retailers to help eradicate severe labour exploitation in textile spinning mills in southern India through reform on 5 key areas:
- Transparency: Expand supply chain transparency beyond tier 1 cut-and-sew operations by publicly disclosing the details of all textile, raw material manufacturing processes, and finished product facilities in the global supply chain.
- Policy development and engagement: In Tamil Nadu, proactively support policy implementation efforts on minimum wages for textile workers, internal complaints committees, hostel registration, statutory employer benefits, registration of migrant workers and labour inspection.
- Fair and equitable purchasing practices: Adopt responsible sourcing and purchasing practices on price and order placement, and take steps to consolidate the supply chain by creating stable, long-term relationships with tier 2 and 3 suppliers.
- Worker-centred monitoring mechanisms: Instead of relying on third-party social audits, develop collaborative worker-centred, transparent and accountable mechanisms to monitor compliance with labour rights standards.
- Grievance mechanisms: Support civil society efforts to develop a collaborative grievance mechanism that provides effective remedy for mill workers in Tamil Nadu.
In support of the Declaration, Fashion Revolution has authored a new report, ‘Out of Sight: A Call for Transparency from Field to Fabric’, which explores why greater transparency beyond the first tier of the supply chain is necessary and reviews the current supply chain transparency efforts of 62 major brands and retailers that have links to textile manufacturers in the region.
As part of this collaboration, we will be periodically monitoring and publicly reporting on brands’ efforts towards the first goal of supply chain transparency beyond the first tier.