David Welsh, Southeast Asia country director of the Solidarity Center, said: “With the enormous profit margins [brands] have enjoyed on the backs of workers in Southeast Asia, they are easily placed to sustain workers and factories over this period.”
[The Straits Times] Indonesia’s Labor Laws Discourage Investment and Leave Workers Worse Off: Experts
Even so, David Welsh, country director of Southeast Asia of the Solidarity Center, a nonprofit aligned with the U.S.-based labor federation AFL-CIO, said the reforms, in the garment sector at least, risk amounting to a “race to the bottom”–slashing benefits to appease big international brands that can afford to pay. During the three months ended August–the most recent data available–Sweden’s H&M, which has manufacturing facilities in Indonesia, reported a gross profit margin of 50 percent before tax.
[IndustriAll] Gender Violence Study in Brazilian Garment Factories Provides a ‘Wake-up Call to Action’
[ Read Article ]
In the works is a radical overhaul of labor laws, which will redefine the lives of more than six million impoverished migrant workers. “The conditions [in Malaysia] are appalling,” said the Solidarity Center’s Dave Welsh. “If even a modicum of what trade unions put forward is enacted into law, this is a huge game changer.”
“Companies also need to do more to ensure workers never pay [recruitment] fees in the first place,” said Neha Misra from the Solidarity Center regarding a rare award reimbursing at least 10,000 Burmese migrants for the excessive and illegal fees they were charged to secure jobs at an electronics manufacturer in Thailand.