After a visit to a Cambodian textile factory, a coordinator for the Schone Kleren Campagne (Clean Clothes Campaign) stated that the textile industry still has plenty of sustainability and transparency issues.
A lot of distrust
Sara Ceustermans says it is incredibly difficult to visit factories with major issues, because of the enormous tensions between the board and the labour unions. "Basically, you only get to visit factories that are relatively okay, because you simply cannot enter the other ones. This also means you are never truly confronted with Cambodia's major issues", Ceustermans told VRT.
The promised wage increases also did not have the desired effect in most cases, because as soon as they were increased, rental and store prices followed suit. Not only that, a lot more work is now shipped off to illegal factories with no minimum wage whatsoever. The factory Ceustermans visited also carried the full load of the wage increase, which is "remarkable, because the major brands had promised to pay the factories more."
It is also nigh impossible to talk to any of the workers, because management does not trust it. "This is why labour unions are vital, because they can be the workers' voice, a voice we are apparently not allowed to hear. We can then translate their voice to Europe, to let them be heard with European consumers."