Dutch companies dole out 'starvation wages' abroad

2nd September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Asian factory workers consistently paid beneath the living wage by Dutch clothing companies.

Amsterdam – Dutch clothing manufacturers pay Asian factory workers starvation wages, according to research conducted by the Clean Clothes Campaign (SKC).

The SKC study interviewed 392 workers in 17 factories about their working conditions, and found workers earn below the living wage in factories where clothing is made for C&A, JC Rags, M&S Mode, Miss Etam, Prenatal and WE.

In Bangladesh, factory workers for Prenatal earn an average of EUR 29.89 per month, about the cost of a baby sweater and trousers from the store's webshop. A typical work week is 85 hours.

The living wage for an individual in Bangladesh is EUR 53 per month, and EUR 89 for a family of four, according to an SKC press release.

“We make clothes for others, but we can not own clothes,” said one worker. “We are in need because the prices are so high that we cannot even buy rice.”

Over three-quarters of the workers who sew clothing for Miss Etam in India get paid even less than the statutory minimum wage.

Workers receive between EUR 37 and 51 per month and work 70 hours per week. A family of four in India needs at least EUR 103 to live.

SKC is calling on Dutch companies to pay their outsourced workers, mostly female, at least the living wage, which is set by the United Nations as a human right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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