Blog: Apparel

Families and Labor Leaders Observe 6th Anniversary of Ali Enterprises Fire

Six years ago, on September 11, 2012, the Ali Enterprises factory in Baldia Town, went up in flames. The factory employed hundreds of workers, but only had one exit. At least 260 workers died while trapped inside. This was the deadliest fire ever in a garment factory. After the fire, a major campaign ensued that ultimately secured compensation for the affected families.

This morning the National Trade Union Federation of Pakistan, the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education & Research, and the Home-Based Women Workers Federation held a press conference in front of the Karachi Press Club, noting that garment and textile factories in Pakistan are no safer than they were six years ago and calling for workplace safety.

In the afternoon, they were joined by many more union leaders and members of the Ali Enterprises Factory Fire Affectees Association for a memorial gathering and rally in front of the factory building in Baldia town.

Najma and Abdul Jabar mourned the loss of their son Abdul Hafiz. "Our son died and we couldn't find his body. If we had his body, we could have had a grave for him."

"First there should be preventive measures. There should be the possibility of evacuation in the case of fire. There was none of that at Ali Enterprises. So we have to provide for that," said Husna, who lost her husband Mohhammad Wasim in the fire. 

H&M’s Hypocrisy: When it comes to brand activism, look at actions, not words

H&M is busy expanding production around the globe, searching for the cheapest possible labor - despite their promises to the contrary. A piece this month exposed labor abuses at the Hawassa Industrial Park in Ethiopia, H&M’s latest sourcing location.

Brand responsibility for mass faintings in Cambodian garment factories

On 28 May, once again, a factory in Cambodia was the scene of a now sadly familiar episode: more than 100 workers – the majority women – fainted at the Starite Company in Kandal province. The Chinese-owned facility, which has been operating for less than a year, employs about 1000 workers and produces bags for the U&O brand.

Stopping Violence at Work: A Victory, and a Call to Action

In a world where longtime serial predators are plotting their return to the workplace almost immediately after being ousted for their behavior, it’s time for some good news. This month, unions and worker organizations traveled to Geneva to negotiate a new international standard aimed at stopping the tidal wave of gender-based violence in every workplace.

In Lieu of a Silver Bullet: #metoo in the Global Workplace

Stories of sexual harassment and violence on movie sets and in newsrooms continue to dominate media cycles. Following a stunning 80 women coming forward to accuse former movie producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual violence, survivors in entertainment, journalism and even US Congress have begun to share their experiences and the names of industry predators.

It’s Not Too Late, Ivanka

As Ivanka Trump attends the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India this week, she will speak as a representative of the US government with experience as an entrepreneur, but not as a representative of the apparel company she founded, with wholesale revenues of $47 million and production orders in India and around the globe.  It’s not clear which role, however, is better for helping Ms.

How Anti-Sweatshop Activists and Unions Made Severance Pay Mandatory

In August last year Iris Montoya came to work at the Rio Garment factory in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, where she had worked as a sewing machine operator for 11 years. At 11 a.m., the factory lights shut off and management escorted the workers outside, locking the doors behind them.

Management announced that the factory was shutting down operations that very day. Panic broke out. Workers were told to go home, barred from retrieving their belongings, and left without their last week’s pay.

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