Overview of Clothing Production Industry

The Clothing Production industry is a major contributor to the economies of many countries. The industry for Ready Made Garments has been criticized by labor advocates for the use of sweatshops, piece work and child labor.

Working conditions in low-cost countries have received critical media coverage, especially in the aftermath of large scale disasters like the 2013 Savar building collapse or the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

In 2016, the largest apparel exporting nations were China ($161 billion), Bangladesh ($28 billion), Vietnam ($25 billion), India ($18 billion), Hong Kong ($16 billion), Turkey ($15 billion) and Indonesia ($7 billion).[1] By 2025, it is projected that the United States market will be worth $385 billion.[2] It is also projected that the e-commerce revenue will be worth $146 billion in the United States by 2023.[3]

Production in developing countries
See also: Bangladesh textile industry, Textile industry of China, Textile industry in India, and Textile industry in Pakistan
The worldwide market for textiles and apparel exports in 2013 according to United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database stood at $772 billion.[4]

In 2016, the largest Clothing Production Manufacturer exporting nations were China ($161 billion), Bangladesh ($28 billion), Vietnam ($25 billion), India ($18 billion), Hong Kong ($16 billion), Turkey ($15 billion) and Indonesia ($7 billion).[5]

Pakistan
The textile and garment sector accounts for 70% of Pakistan’s exports, but the working conditions of workers are deplorable. Small manufacturing workshops generally do not sign employment contracts, do not respect the minimum wage and sometimes employ children. Violations of labour law also occur among major subcontractors of international brands, where workers may be beaten, insulted by their superiors or paid below the minimum wage. Factories do not comply with safety standards, leading to accidents: in 2012, 255 workers died in a fire at a Karachi factory. With 547 labour inspectors in Pakistan supervising the country’s 300,000 factories, the textile industry is out of control. Nor are workers protected by trade unions, which are prohibited in industrial export zones. Elsewhere, “workers involved in the creation of trade unions are victims of violence, intimidation, threats or dismissals”.[6]

Bangladesh
Many Western multinationals use labour in Bangladesh, which is one of the cheapest in the world: 30 euros per month compared to 150 or 200 in China. In April 2013, at least 1,135 garment factory workers died in the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory, Dhaka. Other fatal accidents due to unsanitary factories have affected Bangladesh: in 2005 a factory collapsed and caused the death of 64 people. In 2006, a series of fires killed 85 people and injured 207 others. In 2010, some 30 people died of asphyxiation and burns in two serious fires.

In 2006, tens of thousands of workers mobilized in one of the country’s largest strike movements, affecting almost all of the 4,000 factories. The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) uses police forces to crack down. Three workers were killed, hundreds more were wounded by bullets, or imprisoned. In 2010, after a new strike movement, nearly 1,000 people were injured among workers as a result of the repression. [7]

Ethiopia
Employees of Ethiopian garment factories, who work for brands such as Guess, H&M or Calvin Klein, receive a monthly salary of 26 dollars per month. These very low wages have led to low productivity, frequent strikes and high turnover. Some factories have replaced all their employees on average every 12 months, according to the 2019 report of the Stern Centre for Business and Human Rights at New York University.

The report states:” Rather than the docile and cheap labour force promoted in Ethiopia, foreign-based suppliers have met employees who are unhappy with their pay and living conditions and who want to protest more and more by stopping work or even quitting. In their eagerness to create a “made in Ethiopia” brand, the government, global brands and foreign manufacturers did not anticipate that the base salary was simply too low for workers to make a living from

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