Last year finished with a trip to Hong Kong for the CCC GLOBAL FORUM a five day conference organised by the Clean Clothes Campaign in association with Hong Kong-based Globalization Monitor which brought together over 200 delegates from Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, North America, and the UK to discuss and debate possible new strategies to overcome systemic barriers to workers’ rights in global supply chains.
Organized around three core themes – poverty wages, precarious employment, and worker safety – the Forum profiled and drew lessons from recent ground-breaking campaigns and initiatives, including the Asian Floor Wage Campaign and the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. While it was clear there is much more to do to achieve true dignity for workers in the garment sector optimism was taken from the work done so far in Bangladesh and the knowledge that consumers are more than ever behind the campaign for change.
We were lucky enough to be sharing a room with Mary from SAVE who works on the issue of Sumangali in India. The Sumangali scheme is an employment arrangement targeting young girls recruited from marginalised Dalit communities in impoverished rural areas. Brought to the mills and factories on the promise of good wages, accommodation, three meals a day and the promise of a lump sum ‘dowry’ payment at the end of an agreed term, the reality for these girls is however very different.
We asked Mary to tell us a little more about her work, the issues that she faces daily and to send a message back to consumers in Ireland about what they can do.
To read more on Sumangali check out the CCC Ireland page here
The forum took place alongside the Umbrella Revolution a pro democracy protest led by Hong Kong students that occupied 2 central Hong Kong city areas and brought the city to a stand still. This was a monumental time to be in Hong Kong with workers from across the globe to discuss how together we can push for change.
Read more on the Umbrella Revolution here.