We work hard in the hope that one day the footwear and fashion industry won’t be exploitative to its workers, but sadly this isn’t the case just yet. We need your help to raise awareness of the plight of the footwear workers elsewhere in the industry, and how important it is for brands to be transparent about their production. So we’re asking you to please share our campaign below!
WHO MADE YOUR SHOES?
Today 87% of shoes are made in Asia in countries where it’s difficult to improve working conditions such as low wages, illegal levels of overtime and no health and safety measures, due to restrictions on collective bargaining and freedom of association. Human rights violations can happen throughout the supply chain.
The footwear industry sometimes informally subcontracts tasks to women doing home-based work for cash, preferred by employers as it reduces costs. Homeworkers have no guarantee of employment, no contract and no social security. Wages are low and often given per piece, for example as little as 10p per pair of uppers stitched in South India. These low prices are seen as a factor in the continuing existence of child labour in home-based work. Homeworkers produce 10 to 15 pairs of shoes a day on their own, depending on the shoe type, but production per family can increase significantly if they involve children. Because these workers are not in a position to challenge their employers to get higher wages, there is little alternative available to them.
Beyond Skin shoes are produced in two factories in Alicante, Spain, which we visit regularly so we know firsthand there is no exploitation. The shoes are stitched, glued and packaged in-house. These workers are protected by EU employment law, and so they have employment contracts, are paid a fair wage, and the factory abides by EU health and safety regulations. In Spain, employers and employees make social security contributions, which pays for free healthcare, payment for time off due to work-related sickness or injury, maternity and paternity care, child allowance, invalidity benefit and pensions.
To find out more about the working conditions in the garment and footwear industry, go to the Change Your Shoes campaign by Labour Behind the Label, and check out Fashion Revolution. And keep asking, who made your shoes?
Let’s fix the footwear industry together!
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