From Zara to H&M, passing through Next or Primark, major international clothing brands are accused of unfair practices with their suppliers in Bangladesh, such as order cancellations, non-payments or delays, in a study published on Wednesday in London.
The study by the Transform Trade association, carried out with the University of Aberdeen and the Center for Global Development, analyzed the situation of 1,000 Bangladeshi garment factories or producers and observed “unfair” practices that began during the COVID-19 pandemic and have persisted since then.
The manufacturers surveyed “reported brands and retailers canceling orders, refusing to pay or asking for discounts on orders already in production or shipped”, despite the increase in production costs since the economy was reactivated after the lockdowns and inflation skyrocketed.
Among the major textile groups producing in Bangladesh, Inditex (Zara’s parent company), Next, Primark and H&M have canceled around 30% of their orders and requested discounts or delayed their payments.
Gap, Walmart, C&A also canceled orders but to a lesser extent, among many other examples.
“These unfair practices have an impact on the labor practices of suppliers, which translates into (…) job losses and lower wages”, denounces the report.
“One in five factories reported having difficulty paying the Bangladeshi minimum wage” since the lockdowns against COVID-19 were lifted, he adds, calling for the creation of a regulatory authority for the clothing sector in developed countries to put an end to these abusive purchasing practices.
The fashion industry is regularly accused of abusive pay and labor practices, even in developed countries like the UK.
It has also been criticized for its very negative environmental impact.
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