FWF is in continual contact with its local stakeholder networks to make sure member companies have access to the best and latest information, necessary to achieve sustainable improvements.
- Please download FWF's country plan 2016 for India here
- Please download FWF's country plan 2015 for India here
- The country study for India was updated in 2016. This country study can be found here
The verification team of FWF wrote a short paper on the Sumangali scheme, which can be downloaded here
The textile and garment industry plays an important role in India’s economic growth, contributing 4% to the country’s GDP and employing about 45 million workers.
Labour conditions are characterised by high production pressure resulting in excessive, often unpaid overtime. In addition, a lack of legal employment relationships and informal employment is common; especially for seasonal and migrant workers. Unionisation in the garment sector remains low, at less than 5%; largely due to management practices that discourage workers from joining trade unions. Functioning grievance channels are lacking.
Sexual harassment of female workers remains a major challenge and generally goes unreported. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act stipulates that women should not be subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace and prescribes the creation of Internal Complaints Committees (ICC). However, most garment factories do not have (functioning) ICCs in place. Since 2013, FWF provides training through its Workplace Education Programme (WEP) focusing on the prevention of gender-based violence and the establishment of ICCs.
In addition, with the support of the EU delegation in India, FWF is currently piloting a training programme in Bangalore and Tirupur. The programme aims to further reduce economic discrimination against women in garment factories by providing training focused on improving the working relations between line supervisors and workers and supporting female workers with skills to become supervisors.
FWF has published a policy to offer guidance to its members to mitigate risks related to Sumangali-like schemes, an illegal forced labour practice observed in South India.
Minimum wages vary per state, sector and category of workers. Taking the tailoring industry as an example, daily minimum wages in Bangalore, Tirupur and Gurgaon range from 263 to 391 INR (EUR 3.4 to 5.3). Such wages provide only minimal standards of living and do not meet the monthly living wage, which amounts to a daily wage of 720 INR (EUR 9.7), according to the Asia Floor Wage. FWF audits found that minimum wages are commonly provided to permanent workers, while documents regarding contract workers are often not available for verification. In addition, overtime is commonly paid at single rate or not paid at all.
FWF has been active in India since 2003. Forty FWF members—mostly those in fashion and sportswear—source from more than 160 factories. Of these factories, 45% are located in north India, while 55% are based in south India. Significant clusters for factories supplying FWF members include Tamil Nadu (mainly Tirupur) as well as Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) area.
In India, FWF works with a number of local partners (currently SAVE, Cividep and MARG), a country representative, as well as three local audit teams. Complaint hotlines are operated in five languages; Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Bangla and English.
Fair Wear Foundation and its partners FNV Mondiaal and CNV Internationaal have been selected by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a five year Strategic partnership starting in 2016 as part of its “Dialogue and Dissent” policy framework. The primary goal of this initiative is to improve the lobbying and advocacy capacity of trade unions and labour related NGOs by enhancing their understanding of international RMG supply chains, access to critical information and know-how. This programme further defines FWF’s activities in India for the coming 5 years, focusing on the areas of Living Wages, Social Dialogue and Gender Based Violence in the textile industry.
For questions about FWF's work in India, please contact Lisa Süss: suess [at] fairwear.org.