FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 11th, 2020
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A report published today by Global Labor Justice, titled, Advancing Gender Justice on Asian Fast Fashion Supply Chains Post COVID-19: Learning from ILO’s Convention 190 on its First Anniversary, reviews the gendered impact of COVID-19—and the need for a transformational approach to prevent and end gender based violence & harassment. At the first anniversary of its adoption, the report shows how ILO Convention C190 gives direction to the responses brands, employers, and governments should be taking in the context of Asian fast fashion supply chains, which produce primarily consumer apparel and footwear.
You can read the report here.
Shikha Silliman Bhattacharjee, Research Director for Global Labor Justice says, “Women workers have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout. The groundbreaking legal standards in Convention 190 provide a mechanism to respond to the global crisis at work by recognizing practices that result in economic harm as a form of violence and advancing a gender-sensitive approach to addressing violence in the work of work, including by addressing risks associated with discrimination, unequal relationships of power, and occupational health and safety.”
On the first anniversary of the ILO’s adoption of C190 and its accompanying recommendation, we are grappling with catastrophic shocks to economic security, public health, and freedom of association and assembly caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. This report is focused on the fact that women workers have been disproportionately affected by this crisis and utilizes a gender lens to examine worker issues— a perspective that has been absent from major employer and government responses.
The report provides detailed guidance to fast fashion brands on the steps they can take to uphold C190 and address violence on garment supply chains in context of the global public health crisis and the economic shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While this report focuses on fast fashion supply chains, the guidance for corporate accountability to achieve violence free workplaces provides an important roadmap across global supply chain sectors.
JJ Rosenbaum, U.S. Director for Global Labor Justice says, “As we move towards a new reality, all eyes will be on the fast fashion industry — and we will continue to push for systemic change to create a new era where exploitation is abolished and all workers on the global garment supply chain are paid a living wage, their right to freedom of association is respected, and workplaces are free from gender based violence and harassment to ensure justice for all workers in the global economy.”
Women workers and trade union leaders are rising to meet the challenges posed by C190 in the COVID-19 context, leading demands for accountability and gender justice. On fast fashion supply chains, women workers, trade unionists, and leaders have called for brands to end the economic violence facing women workers by paying in full for orders completed and in production; and supply chain relief contributions (SRCs) to compensate for the income loss resulting from suspension of work for various reasons, including quarantine and order cancellation. Now, more than ever, we need to advance C190 protections for women workers who are identifying and addressing GBVH at work.
Global Labor Justice is a new strategy hub supporting transnational collaboration among worker and migrant organizations to expand labor rights and new forms of bargaining on global value chains and international labor migration corridors. Global Labor Justice works with grassroots worker and migrant organizations to promote long term change in policy and corporate practice that prevents labor exploitation leading up to and including modern day slavery and promotes innovative accountability structures that respond to the increasingly globalized economy.