NEW YORK -- In what it called evidence that monitoring foreign factories can help improve working conditions, the International Labour Organization said it found "encouraging signs of improvement" in its third round of inspections of Cambodian...
NEW YORK--In what it called evidence that monitoring foreign factories can help improve working conditions, the International Labour Organization said it found "encouraging signs of improvement" in its third round of inspections of Cambodian garment factories.The Geneva-based labor group is monitoring 30 factories in that nation as part of a joint project with the U.S. and Cambodian governments in which Cambodia can be awarded increased U.S. quota rights if working conditions in its industry are found to improve. In turn, Cambodia increases the quota allotted to the factories found to provide the best conditions for workers.Like the previous two quarterly reports, the one released Monday found no evidence of child labor, forced labor or sexual harassment in the 30 factories the ILO inspected.The report noted that inspectors found improvements in factory practices including paying correct wages, insuring that all overtime is voluntary and within legal limits, and protecting freedom of association. However, the report said these areas remained "a problem" for several of the factories inspected. It also noted that strikes continue not to be organized in accordance with Cambodian laws."What's important about this report is that, in every single factory we had gone back to, there was some improvement," Sally Paxton, ILO executive director of social dialog, said in a phone interview. "That doesn't mean there isn't still work to be done."The factories included in the survey had about 21,000 workers, 90 percent of whom were women. Cambodia's total apparel industry includes about 200 factories with 200,000 workers, producing $1.1 billion worth of exported goods last year, according to the Cambodian Development Resource Institute. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, the U.S. imported $952.6 million of apparel and textiles from Cambodia last year, making it the 21st-largest source of those goods.The survey, conducted by ILO-trained inspectors, addressed safety concerns, respect for workers' rights and payroll practices. Many of the problems found were wage-and-hour issues, which are frequent at cost-conscious and often time-pressed apparel contractors around the world.With each survey, the ILO makes recommendations of improvements the factories can make. It then checks up on them in follow-up surveys. This report showed that 18 of the 30 factories had solved less than half the problems brought up in the first two rounds of inspections.Paxton said that's because many of the problems raised, particularly those related to workers' right to organize, are complicated."Some of these things we are finding can be fixed quite simply," she said. "But allowing freedom of association and collective bargaining are harder than making sure that you have clean toilet facilities."She noted that the ILO's overall goal in this project is to educate local employers, unions and government officials about workers' rights so that the industry will be able to operate on its own in a way that respects labor."The ILO can't be in these countries forever," she said. "If unions and employers are doing their jobs...and working together, the need for government intervention should be quite small."Paxton said the program has attracted more U.S. and European apparel firms to the Southeast Asian nation of 12.5 million people, which borders Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. She listed Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co. as companies currently producing in Cambodia.A Gap spokeswoman confirmed the San Francisco-based company is currently buying goods from Cambodian factories. She said projects like the ILO's in Cambodia are valuable for the breadth of companies they affect."Industry-wide reforms is what you're looking for," she said. "What we've found with our own initiatives is what you really want is all factories to be participating in the program."Levi's officials did not return phone calls by press time.She said she hoped the Cambodian governments' interest in promoting workers' rights could be used by the local industry as a marketing tool."It can create for itself a niche market, of `We open our factories to monitoring,"' she said. "Buyers in the U.S. are quite aware of the consumer concerns about the way in which products are produced."Currently, the ILO monitoring project and a related program to set up a system to resolve labor disputes is slated to run at least another year."This is a process, not something that we expect to have done overnight," Paxton said. "One hundred percent compliance, that doesn't exist anywhere. It's a process of the employers understanding that they have to start complying with the law."
Assouline is paying homage to the late Azzedine Alaïa with a reprint of "Alaïa Livre de Collection.” The book is comprised of photographs of the designer's summer 1992 runway show with models Christy Turlington Burns, Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks, pictured here at right. #wwdfashion #alaia #tyrabanks
Fall 2018 accessories take on a painterly hue, with Nebulas Blue among Pantone’s top 10 colors of the season. (📸: @jonghyupstudio ; editor: @twallz21 ; stylist and set designer: @haideefindlaylevin ) #wwdaccessories
@americanapparelusa is relaunching the brand outside of the U.S. today, opening its online store to more than 200 countries. The company is also contemplating a return to brick-and-mortar, though details have not been confirmed. In tandem with the expanded distribution is a recasting of a social media ad campagn, called “Back to Basics,” pictured here, with a focus on diversity and a cast of models above the age of 21. Read more on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Exclusive: @britneyspears is continuing to expand her brand. The pop icon, who appears in @kenzo ’s latest campaign, is partnering with Epic Rights to launch a line of branded merchandise. Read @hernameislex ‘s story, link in bio. #wwdnews #britneyspears
The Duchess of Cambridge channeled Princess Diana’s look upon giving birth to Prince Harry, when she and the Duke of Cambridge departed the hospital with the new baby Prince this afternoon in London. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
The new Prince of Cambridge has arrived! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posed with the 8-pound newborn. She wore a look from one of her go-to designers, @jennypackham. Tap link in bio for more. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
Jewelry label @alisonlou has made a name for itself with fine jewelry that speaks to the Millennial market. Now @twallz21 reports that the label is bringing those playful ideas to a new affordable line of lucite hoops with the launch of Loucite by Alison Lou. Here’s a look from the line modeled by @emrata. #wwdaccessories
@sarahjessicaparker and @gilt are teaming up on a bridal ready-to-wear line. Tomorrow, Parker will launch SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Bridal — and as part of the launch, Gilt will offer 15 exclusive styles from the SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker footwear collection that were designed to complement the new line. Made out of 10 styles, the line is designed for a variety of occasions, from bridal showers to receptions. Get more details on WWD.com #wwdfashion