Decent Work and Economic Growth in the South India Garment Industry

This report focuses on the labour challenges faced by the South Indian garment industry clustered around Tirupur, and makes recommendations to overcome these.

This report, published in September 2019, focuses on research exploring the labour challenges faced by the South Indian garment industry clustered around Tirupur.

We found that the industry is at a crossroads. Despite decades of growth it faces three main labour challenges – competitive threats from lower cost producing countries, labour shortages, and reputational challenges around decent work. There is a widespread belief in the industry that pay and working conditions have improved and that the worst forms of exploitation have declined. However, exploitation persists in a variety of forms.

We recommend that the industry and its stakeholders should collaborate to develop a shared Vision 2030 and goals to address decent work and economic growth in the sector, focused on freedom of movement, health and safety, and the development of worker-driven social responsibility. We offer 12 practical recommendations for key stakeholders to implement to tackle these focus areas.

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