National Peoples’ Tribunal on Living Wage for Garment Workers/ 22-25 November 2012, Bangalore
The first ever National People’s Tribunal on Living Wages for Garment Workers will be held in Bangalore from November 22nd – 25th, 2012. An Alliance of sixteen trade unions and NGOs in India are holding this Tribunal that will be witness to testimonies and experiences of workers from the Garment Sector regarding various aspects of their living and working conditions.
Indian textiles industry is pegged at US$ 55 billion, accounts for 14% of industrial production and for 4% of GDP. The industry employs 3.5 crore people and accounts for nearly 12% share of the country’s total exports. During 2010-2011, readymade garments (RMG) accounted for almost 45% of the total textiles exports. The National Capital Region, Tirupur and Bangalore contribute between
55% to 60% of the total exports from India. The textile sector, especially the export oriented sector, in India is reviving fast from the recent global economic crisis which engulfed most of India’s export markets.
However, despite the economic importance of this industry, garment workers receive less than half of what is needed to support their families. Living Wages and Decent Working Conditions for Garment Workers are their Fundamental Human Rights which are currently being denied. An independent jury panel of eminent persons from different walks of life will examine the testimonies, presentations and submissions and give a public verdict. (List of jury members attached)
The purpose of the Tribunal is to make available to the jury, different perspectives about the garment industry from diverse stakeholders. Its mission is to raise awareness regarding violation of fundamental human rights as it receives no institutional recognition or response, whether at a National or International level. In an environment of subversion of constitutional governance and an absence of a functional national institutional / regulatory framework, the nature and extent of these violations will sought to be identified and quantified in legal terms. The Tribunal will focus on the following key seven major areas that impact the lives of Garment workers:-
1. Inadequate implementation of labour laws
2. Impact of low wages on workers’ lives
3. Inhuman productivity targets which lead to violation of core labour standards
4. The rampant use of illegal contract labour systems
5. The requirement of a living wage
6. The Freedom of association within factories and the impacts on unionization
7. Understanding corporate social responsibility and its failure in impacting the workers.
The Tribunal will be attended by workers from various garment factories across India. Workers will give detailed testimonies on working conditions in factories making merchandise for various transnational / multinational buyers and brands such as Gap, Next, Adidas, Puma, H&M, Nike and Marks & Spencer. There will also be expert presentations regarding the state of the Garment Industry, the relevant Governance framework and laws related to the Garment Industry in India. In attendance will also be Labour rights experts and campaigners from India and Asia, representatives from European countries and the Asia Floor Wage – International Secretariat. Representatives from international brands and retailers have been invited.
The Juries for the Tribunal are as follows:
1. Utsa Patnaik
Utsa Patnaik taught economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and after retiring she holds a National Fellowship, Indian Council of Social Science Research.
2. Mary E. John
Mary E John is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS) in New Delhi. She was director of the Centre from 2006-2012 and before that deputy director of the Women’s Studies programme at Jawaharlal Nehru University from 2001-2006.
3. Coen Kompier
Coen Kompier is a senior specialist at the ILO South Asia Decent Work Team. He has been working at the ILO in the field of international labour standards since 1994.
4. Marina Forti
Marina Forti is a professional journalist and has been associated with the daily newspaper “il manifesto“. Her book La signora di Narmada. Le lotte degli sfollati ambientali nel sud del mondo (Feltrinelli 2004) was awarded with the Elsa Morante Prize for Communication, 2004.
5. Gianni Tognioni
Gianni Tognioni has been Secretary General of Permanent People’s Tribunal. He is the currently the Head of the Laboratory of Clinical Pharmacology and Coordinator of the Department of Cardiovascular Research for the Istituto Mario Negri in Italy.
The People’s Tribunal in India is the third of its kind to be held in Asia, the first being held in Sri Lanka in 2011 and the second in Cambodia earlier in 2012.
The tribunal is scheduled for 22nd and 23rd November (Thursday and Friday), 2012 at Krishna Raja Parishad Mandir, Kannada Sahitya Parishad, Pampa Mahakavi Road, Chamarajpet, Bangalore, Karnataka. The verdict will be announced on the
25th of November (Sunday) at ‘UNNATI’ Auditorium, Mahila Seva Samaja, Pampa Mahakavi Road, Shankar Puram, next to National College swimming pool, Bengaluru.