Blog

Brainstorming for a
collective course of action focusing on educating workers on their rights & supporting vulnerable sections of workers.

NGO Coalition on Youth and Migrant Labour

On February 14, 2017, as love was being celebrated the world over, a group of NGOs united around their commitment to young migrant workers. The meeting was convened by Cividep in collaboration with Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth development (RGNIYD), Sriperumbudur. Tapping into their extensive engagement with marginalized communities around Chennai, the gathering identified… Read more »

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Caution! Women at Work: Surveillance in Garments Factories

As a part of a broader study on surveillance, Nayanthara Ranganathan reports about the use of CCTV cameras in garments manufacturing factories in Bangalore

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Implementation of Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, 2013 in the garment sector – an Event Report

As part of the study on Human Rights and Grievance Mechanisms, Cividep aims to urge state authorities to clarify the role and responsibility of various departments for stricter implementation of Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, 2013. As a first step, Cividep brought together a small group of experts – CSOs, legal practitioners, activists, union members etc. – on 16… Read more »

47 women homeworkers from three villages took part in the gender and labour rights training

Gender and Labour rights Training organised for Leather Homeworkers in Ambur

A one day training programme on gender and labour rights for homeworkers in the leather sector was organised in Ambur on 10th January 2016, by Cividep India. The objective of the training programme was to create awareness among the homeworkers on labour rights and on gender related issues faced by them. 47 women homeworkers from… Read more »

SEZ on the Chennai-Bangalore highway -home to many electronics companies

From Temple-Town to Industrial-Hub: through the eyes of young workers

Activists of Cividep, a labour rights organisation, recently met with a group of young women from Thirupandhiyur who work at an electronics factory in Sriperumbudur. Thirupandhiyur is a small village in Kancheepuram District of Tamil Nadu, South India. This blog while sketching the region’s fast-paced industrialization, casts a glance at the changes through the eyes… Read more »

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Street Play on Issues of the Garment Workers

As a part of the Migrant workers project (SYMPANY), Cividep and India Committee of Netherlands, worked along with Garment Labour Union(GLU) to improve the functioning of the union and increase in membership along. One of the activities undertaken for this project was organising street plays near the garment factories in Peenya. The video shows one of the street… Read more »

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Stitching Our Shoes report on the Leather industry in India, now in Spanish

Early last year, Cividep India, Labor Behind the Label and HWW published the Stitching Our Shoes report that focuses on thousands of women homeworkers from Tamil Nadu assembling leather shoes for export. This report was produced as part of the Change Your Shoes project which is an EU-wide campaign to raise the profile of workers in… Read more »

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Walk a Mile in Their Shoes – Workers‘ Rights Violations in the Indian Leather and Footwear Industry

The Society for Labour and Development, New Delhi and the SüdwindInstitut, Bonn, has published the Walk a Mile in their Shoes Report and Factsheet as a part of the  “Change Your Shoes” project.  The research was conducted in two different regions: Ambur in South India and Agra in North India. The study shows that workers in… Read more »

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19 Public Reports published by Corporate Accountability Research

Corporate Accountability Research had recently launched the findings of five years of research and analysis animated by questions about how a growing class of non-judicial redress mechanisms operates in practice to enable access to remedy for people affected by human rights abuses. These reports provide a complex and detailed analysis of the role played by these… Read more »

GoodElectronics demands on the EICC

New Internationalist blog on the ‘disposable’ workforce that bears the brunt of the great Indian growth

Anibel Ferus-Comelo (Programme Manager – Electronics Sector) from CIvidep India explains how a disposable workforce is bearing the brunt of Indian economic growth in a blog published by New Internationalist.

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Policy workshop on Plantations Labour Act – Event Report

On 30th September 2016, Cividep India, PAJHRA (Promotion and Advancement of Justice, Harmony and Rights of Adivasis) and PAD (People’s Action for Development) conducted a one- day policy workshop on Plantations Labour Act reform for the Assam tea sector. The workshop had 33 participants, including representatives of local and national CSOs, union members, academicians, retired… Read more »

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Cividep conducts a policy workshop on Plantations Labour Act – Snapshots from Guwahati

A one- day policy workshop on Plantations Labour Act reform for the Assam tea sector was organised at the Blue Moon Hotel in Guwahati on 30th September, 2016 by Cividep India, PAJHRA (Promotion and Advancement of Justice, Harmony and Rights of Adivasis) and PAD (People’s Action for Development). The workshop had 33 participants, including representatives… Read more »

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Conference on International legally binding instrument on TNCs with respect to human rights

On September 15, 2016, Cividep India conducted a consultation meeting in New Delhi to discuss the possibilities of establishing an international legally binding treaty to regulate the activities of transnational and domestic corporations, and protect human rights including labour rights, environmental rights and the rights of indigenous people. The consultation meeting was held in the… Read more »

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Global Labour University announces Online Course on Decent Work in Global Supply Chains

The Massive Open Online Course on decent work in global supply chains  is now open for enrolment on https://iversity.org/en/courses/decent-work-in-global-supply-chains.  This online course offers the opportunity to network with thousands of trade unionists and labour activists from around the world and it is offered  for free in the audit track. This course discusses the particularities and strategies… Read more »

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Cividep & FWF train women in garment sector

Cividep along with Fair Wear Foundation conducted a Supervisory Training Programme for women in the garment sector. As a part this programme, we trained 11 women from Birdy Exports who are to be potential supervisors. These women underwent both Technical and Non-Technical training.  

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Tainted Tea: Slave Labour in your Cuppa?

In September 2015, a BBC investigation of working conditions on the tea estates of Assam, many of which supply tea to popular labels in the UK, revealed deplorable conditions on several estates. Extensive research documenting the nature of labour rights violations on tea estates in Assam show violations including denial of health care and subsidized… Read more »

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Podcast on the need for a legally-binding treaty for human and labour rights

Dr. Surya Deva discusses the importance of establishing an international legally binding treaty to regulate the activities of transnational and domestic corporations, and protect human rights including labour rights, environmental rights and the rights of indigenous people.

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Roundtable Meeting on Living Wages in the Garment Sector

On 17th June 2016, over 40 academicians, trade union activists, suppliers, brands and representatives of civil society organizations attended the roundtable meeting on the living wage issue organized by Cividep India in Bangalore, India. Mind the Gap: How the global brands are not doing enough to ensure a dignified life for workers in the garment… Read more »

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Eliminating Violence against Women at Work

Sisters for Change partnered with Munnade, a local NGO working to support women garment workers with close ties to the only women-led garment worker union in Karnataka, The Garment Labour Union (GLU). The organisation held workshops to raise awareness amongst garment workers and also  conducted a survey to evidence the scale of violence and harassment…. Read more »

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Stitching Our Shoes Report featured on HWW Newsletter

HomeWorkers Worldwide (HWW) UK, publishes the first e-newsletter and the new issue highlights the Stitching Our Shoes report published by Cividep India, Labor Behind the Label and HWW.  The report focuses on thousands of women homeworkers from Tamil Nadu assembling leather shoes for export. This report was produced as part of the Change Your Shoes… Read more »

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Labour and Gender Rights Training Programme for Women Homeworkers in Ambur

A one day training programme on gender and labour rights for leather homeworkers was organized by Cividep on 11 th June 2016 in Ambur. The objective of the training programme was to create awareness about gender and labour rights among the women homeworkers. Participants: 34 women homeworkers from three villages – Thuthipattu, Melpati and Navidhiyampatti… Read more »

This heavily pregnant woman with a young child has just finished her shift at a garment factory.

Cividep India to organise a Roundtable Meeting on Living Wages

On Friday the 17th of June, Cividep India will be hosting a gathering of trade unions, civil society organizations, supplier representatives, brands and researchers in Bangalore. The Roundtable Meeting is organized in the back-ground of the publication of the ‘Mind the Gap’ report on living wage by Future in Our Hands, Norway and Cividep India, with the aim of understanding the ‘state of… Read more »

Many women garment workers have to face verbal abuse and harassment on a daily basis

Cividep presents new study ‘Challenges and Prospects for Decent Employment in Tamil Nadu’s Spinning Mills’ at Speakers Tour in Germany

Cividep’s partner organisation FEMNET is organising a speakers tour through Germany from 9th till 20th May 2016. Cividep’s consultant researcher Dr. Anibel Ferus-Comelo, author of the study as well as Mary Viyakula, a representative of the NGO SAVE (Social Awareness & Voluntary Education) report about human rights violations through the Sumangali labour practice in Indian spinning mills… Read more »

This heavily pregnant woman with a young child has just finished her shift at a garment factory.

Are global brands truly minding the gap? Cividep Responds to Global Brands

In 2014, Future in Our Hands (Framtiden i våre hender), Norway and Cividep India jointly conducted a study comparing working conditions and wages in two global supply chains that cater to the European market and have links to South India. The report, which was published in February 2015, concluded that the working conditions in both the supply chains are below universally… Read more »

All incidents of violence and vandalism should also be effectively investigated - Amnesty International India

Amnesty International India issues Press Release on the garment workers protest in Bengaluru

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL INDIA 22 April 2016 Bengaluru Karnataka: Allegations of arbitrary and abusive force against women protesters must be investigated Karnataka state authorities must conduct a prompt, impartial and independent investigation into allegations of arbitrary and abusive use of police force during protests by garment workers in Bengaluru, Amnesty International India said today. Women garment workers who… Read more »

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Garment workers’ protest in Bengaluru: Firstpost article with expert comments on the issue from Cividep

Nearly 10,000 workers from the unorganised garment sector in Bengaluru took the streets by storm in a spontaneous and leaderless protest that started innocuously outside a factory gate in Bommanhalli. Spreading like wildfire, the strike was an intense display of the frustrations of the workers that can be attributed to several underlying causes including low wages… Read more »

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Remedy Remains Rare

National Contact Points (NCPs) were established to promote adherence to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (the Guidelines). In 2000, these state-based offices began accepting complaints from people harmed by companies’ noncompliance with the Guidelines. With this new role, NCPs acquired the potential to serve as a much-needed forum for accessing remedy for corporate abuses…. Read more »

Low wages leads to poverty among garment workers in India

“A lot of things happen, but we cannot talk about it” – the Plight of Voiceless Garment Workers.

A recent article published by the Bangalore Mirror reveals the plight of migrant workers employed in the garment factories of leading multinational brands. Bangalore is the major hub for the garment industry in South India, for the migrant workers though, it is nothing but a nightmarish sweatshop denying them of their freedom and dignity.  The article cites from… Read more »

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Reuters publishes news article on the Stitching Our Shoes Report

Homeworkers Worldwide (HWW), Labour Behind the Label and Cividep India, came together to tell the story of thousands of women homeworkers stitching leather shoes for export, in Ambur, South India. The by-product of this endeavour, the  Stitching Our Shoes report was published in March 2016. The report focuses on the plight of these women, who are… Read more »

Low wages leads to poverty among garment workers in India

Cividep India highlights garment workers issues for the 2016 Asia Regional Forum on Business & Human Rights

The prestigious 2016 Asia Regional Forum on Business & Human Rights will be held on 19-20 April 2016 in Doha, Qatar. The event is an opportunity to highlight areas where greater action is needed by governments and business in Asia. Cividep India highlights an important issue pertaining to working conditions in the garment supply chain – the… Read more »

Women, activists and police officials exchange ideas at the Ready to Report event

Cividep India & GLU participate in Amnesty International India’s Ready to Report Project

Women’s Day this year marked a relevant step forward in strengthening ties between Women and the Police Department. On March 8th, Amnesty International India, Cividep India, Garment Labour Union, Samvada and other related communities came together for a meaningful exchange of ideas on underreporting of sexual violence against women, along with the Bangalore Police. The… Read more »

Cividep India among top 25 human rights advocates listed by DTP

Diplomacy Training Program celebrates 25 years. Cividep India one among the featured human right advocates.

Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) celebrates 25 years of providing expert training in human rights advocacy.  Founded by the Nobel Laureate Professor Jose´ Ramos-Horta  and Emeritus Professor Garth Nettheim in 1990, DTP  has empowered more than 2500 human rights advocates in over 50 countries. Marking the  25th anniversary, DTP highlights the work of 25 of it’s alumni and… Read more »

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Stitching Our Shoes – A report on homeworkers in South India by HomeWorkers Worldwide, Labour Behind the Label and Cividep India

Thousands of women work as homeworkers stitching leather shoes for export, in Ambur, South India. These women are largely invisible, not recognised or acknowledged as workers. They are excluded from legal protection, ignored by official statistics and often overlooked by trade unions, researchers and campaigners. “Whether we like it or not, we have to stitch….. Read more »

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Cividep India gets featured in the SOMO Newsletter

The best kind of motivation is when a like-minded partner celebrates and inspires you to stay focused and work diligently towards your cause. Thank You SOMO – The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations, for providing the motivation by featuring Cividep India’s work on labour rights and welfare on the March issue of the SOMO News…. Read more »

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Study on labour rights violations and the availability & effectiveness of grievance mechanisms in the construction sector in Bangalore

In 2011, the Bangalore Metro, i.e. ‘Namma Metro’, has been partly opened for public, after several years of construction. This massive infrastructure project employed thousands and still employs hundreds of workers who are vulnerable to inherent risks to their life and limbs while working. Building the Metro system is undoubtedly welcome in the traffic clogged… Read more »

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A Study of Occupational Health & Safety in the Garment Industry in Bangalore

The IT hub of Bangalore is also home over 950 garment factories which employ up to 400,000 workers in the bustling metropolis. While access to basic welfare benefits and securing the labour rights of garment workers are the foremost concerns, it would be equally important to understand the occupational hazards faced by workers on a daily basis and… Read more »

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Improving Childcare in Bangalore’s Garment Factories

Presenting images from the Round table Meeting conducted by Cividep to improve childcare facilities available for workers in the garment factories of Karnataka. [Images by: Sanjita Majumder]  

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Do We Buy It? A joint research by Labour Behind the Label (LBL) and Cividep India, shows brand commitments on living wage to be misleading

‘Do We Buy It? is a new joint report by Labour Behind the Label (LBL) and Cividep India looking into the stories behind two leading high-street brands, M&S and H&M, who have made claims to be ensuring a fair living wage for workers who make their clothes. The report shows that garment workers at Marks… Read more »

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Tougher Than Leather – Working Conditions in Indian Tanneries

A new report by Cividep India and Framtiden i våre hender (Future In Our Hands), Norway looks at the state of occupational health and safety in tanneries in Tamil Nadu. Interviews with tannery workers in Chennai and Ranipet revealed shocking negligence and violation of Indian laws governing hazardous industries. Women who work as helpers and… Read more »

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Needs Assessment of Childcare Facilities in Bangalore’s Garment Industry – Cividep India (in cooperation with FEMNET, Germany)

In 2015, Cividep India undertook a project to improve the quality of crèches in Bangalore’s garment factories in cooperation with the German feminist organisation FEMNET. The project was financially supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Many of Bangalore’s garment manufacturers supply clothing – including children’s wear – to major… Read more »

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Handbook on Labour Laws II

Cividep is a member of the Good Electronics Network from India, and has been working on a handbook for factory workers on Indian labour laws in that country. The handbook is part of our Worker Education Series and six chapters have been made available. Several labour laws including the Minimum Wages Act, Maternity Benefits Act,… Read more »

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Home Workers Worldwide (HWW): A briefing note on women garment workers in Bangalore

Contributing to Women’s Movements in India: Home Workers Worldwide’s  series on  organizing women workers in South India showcases Cividep’s  role in supporting and building an all-women trade union in the garment sector of South India.  

Workers at Bangalore Metro Construction Site. Credit: Bloomberg

A Handbook of Non Judicial Grievance Mechanisms

This worker education material aims to equip union leaders and workers with the necessary information and skills to raise grievances against management, global multi-national brands and regulatory authorities like the labour department. The Handbook of Non-Judicial Grievance Mechanisms focuses particularly on non-adjudicated ways of making complaints. The scope of this manual covers various non-judicial grievance… Read more »

This heavily pregnant woman with a young child has just finished her shift at a garment factory.

Mind the Gap: How the global brands are not doing enough to ensure a dignified life for workers in the garment and electronics industry in India

Future in Our Hands (Framtiden i våre hender), Norway and Cividep India jointly conducted a study comparing working conditions and wages in two global supply chains that cater to the European market and have links to South India. These are the garment industry in Bangalore that produces apparel for well-known European retailers like H&M and… Read more »

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India: National Workshop on Grievance Mechanisms to address Business & Human Rights in India

From October 30 to November 1, 2014, Indian grassroots organizers, civil society representatives and activists came together with practitioners specializing in using grievance mechanisms as part of the “Workshop on Grievance Mechanisms to address Business & Human Rights in India.” This workshop was organized by Cividep India, with support from Accountability Counsel. Participants saw a… Read more »

The seams from the skin – a film by No Dust Films

“The Seams of the Skin” A documentary on the Indian garment sector by No Dust films

No Dust Films, a documentary film team of four has shot this documentary which denounces the abuses in the garment industry in the Indian Subcontinent and shows the women workers’ fight for their rights that have never protected them. While the documentary will be released soon No Dust Films is introducing themselves with the short… Read more »

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Thousands of Electronics Workers in India are losing their jobs

We, civil society organisations from India and around the world are highly concerned about the recent spree of retrenching electronics workers in the Sriperumbudur industrial area in Tamil Nadu, India. The trend was set when Nokia India Pvt. Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Finish multinational Nokia Corporation, started to lay off workers in April… Read more »

GoodElectronics demands on the EICC

GoodElectronics presents 5 demands on EICC in new video

In a video statement released today, the GoodElectronics Network present 5 demands on the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition. EICC is a potentially important industry body of electronics brands and manufacturers, that is, however, failing to effectively address major human rights issues in the global electronics industry. Over the past years, the GoodElectronics Network has repeatedly called on EICC to address ongoing problems including low wages, long workhours, no trade unions, and the lack of proper grievance mechanisms. The video statement by GoodElectronics presents concerns and demands, at the occasion of the current EICC Code of Conduct review process.

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Dis-Connecting People – a film by Nokia India Employees’ Union

On International Workers’ Day, Nokia India Thozhilalar Sangam (Employees’ Union) releases its film titled ‘Dis-Connecting People’ documenting the voices of workers which has remained muted in the battle between the state and the corporation.

About the Film: Dis-Connecting People (35 mins: 18 Secs)
Finnish Company Nokia Corporation set up its largest mobile phone assembling plant in Sriperumbadur Taluk of Kancheepuram District in Tamil Nadu in 2005. Attracted by the tax concessions offered under Special Economic Zone Act 2005, resource subsidies and an army of cheap labour, Nokia found it profitable to assemble phones in India and sell them globally. In just 5 years the plant produced 500 million phones. It hired over 12,000 workers with majority being young women.

After profiting for 8 years, the company now faces charges of evading taxes to the Indian Government in thousands of crores. Imminent closure of the factory and loss of employment looms large for thousands of workers.

The film documents the voices of workers that have remained largely muted in the din of tax battle between the corporation and the State. They share there experiences of working in Nokia; the happy times of being ‘connected’; of building dreams of becoming ‘middle class’; their fears, anxiety and anger of being ‘dis-connected’ suddenly by the company that they helped ‘profit’ with their hard work; and their resolve to fight for their employment.

For more information contact: Nokia India Thozhilalar Sangam at nokianits@gmail.com/ President-Sarvanan Kumar

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How to use the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in company research and advocacy

This guide aims to provide concrete support, guidance and a uniform reference framework for CSOs in using the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. These Guiding Principles can be utilised to address the responsibility of business to respect human rights and thereby support local communities, workers and other rights holders to ensure fulfillment… Read more »

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The Dark Side of the Bargain Mobile Phones

The film the ‘Dark Side of the Bargain Mobile Phones’ by Christian Brueser was shot during a visit in 2012 and deals with the living conditions of mobile phone manufacturing workers from the Nokia Tech Park SEZ in South India. The film examines the standard of life workers can afford from the wages they receive and shows the challenges that workers who produce our mobile phones face on a daily basis

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Calling for Corporate Accountability

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are a unique, government-backed international corporate accountability mechanism aimed at encouraging responsible business behaviour around the world. They define standards for socially and environmentally responsible corporate behaviour and proscribe procedures for resolving disputes between corporations and the communities or individuals negatively affected by corporate activities.