Human Rights In Fashion

Human Rights Issues

Manufacturing Country Profiles: Turkey

But like all garment suppling countries, Turkey’s clothing manufacturers are vulnerable to the pressures of the industry, sacrificing the wellbeing of their work force to comply with demand.

 

Brands constantly seek cheap labour and take advantage of countries like Turkey where labour laws are not duly implemented.

 

The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre found that a constant push for lower prices and brands’ excessive power over their suppliers, fuels abuse in the labour supply chain. Suppliers are often offered short contracts and impossible deadlines, forcing workers to work over time, face severe job insecurity and manufacturers to outsource production.

 

The majority of Turkey’s garment industry is made up of small and medium sized businesses who are encouraged to compete for the cheapest and quickest production when bigger companies outsource. The pressure to produce cheaper clothing quicker means cutting wages and forcing over-time.

 

The biggest issue in Turkey’s garment industry is the prevalence of a large unregistered and informal workforce, particularly within these smaller, less regulated businesses. An estimated 60% of Turkey’s garment workforce is unregistered. Unregistered workers do not have access to their full rights and will not be protected under Turkish labour laws.

 

Refugees arriving in Turkey have found themselves with no protection and no support, forced to accept low paid jobs with excessive hours. In 2017, there were reportedly 650,000 Syrian refugees working informally in the Turkish garment sector.

 

Turkey has the opportunity to expand its garment industry into a force for social good. Better regulating its workforces, Turkey can provide millions with a decent work. It doesn’t need to stop hiring informal workers, but make them formal. Brands need to pay better so they can do this.

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