WORKING CONDITIONS: RESULTS OF THE MONITORING OF CHINESE GARMENTS SUPPLIERS
19 March 2003
Press release of the Clean Clothes Campaign in Switzerland and the companies Migros, Switcher and Veillon
Reminder: the pilot project on independent monitoring was set up in April 2000 in the wake of a major campaign launched by the Swiss CCC. The campaign called on all garments retailers to respect the rights of workers in all places where their clothes are produced. Three Swiss companies reacted positively to the campaign by adopting a full Code of Conduct. They also accepted that the working conditions at some of their suppliers in India and China be independently monitored. In December 2002, the pilot project made public the reports on its follow-up visits to some Indian factories supplying Migros, Switcher and Veillon. As for the reports on the Chinese suppliers, they are made public today.
Two Chinese suppliers took part in this experiment on independent monitoring: a supplier to Switcher located near Shanghai and factory supplying both Migros and Veillon, and located in Dongguan, Guangdong Province (near Hong Kong). A first visit took place in April and August 2002 respectively. The visits were carried out under the responsibility of the project director, Isabelle Scherer, who was assisted by two free-lance social auditors. Before each visit, a Hong Kong-based NGO and social researchers interviewed the workers.
The reports sum up the results of the follow-up visits, analyse the extent to which the suppliers respect the rights enshrined in the codes adopted by the three companies and assess the progress made since the first visit.
The results of these visits are varied and have demonstrated the relevance of the methodology adopted by the pilot project, namely: a first visit to check the working conditions, then a corrective action plan developed out of the recommendations made by the project director, and finally a follow-up visit to assess the implementation of these recommendations. This approach has showed that even in the Chinese context, where breaches of labour laws are frequent, notably regarding working hours and wages, substantive improvements are still possible under certain conditions.
It should be noted also that the pilot project organized a series of training sessions on the Code for the workers of one factory, with the collaboration of a local NGO.
The mandate of the pilot project thus comes to an end with the publication of these reports. CCC is currently discussing with the three companies how this experience should be followed up./ENDS