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Luxury Fashion Brands Exploiting Croatian Workers

CroatiaGarment workers for well-known global brands are being paid ‘poverty wages’ across Eastern Europe, including in Croatia, shows a new report released by Clean Clothes Campaign

Garment workers in Croatia, Romania, Ukraine, Turkey, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Georgia, Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Moldova were interviewed for the report, which uncovered shocking working conditions and below the bread line wages workers were subjected to as they produced clothes for some of the world’s biggest brands such as Hugo Boss, Adidas, Zara, Prada and H&M.

Clean Clothes Campaign’s report shows that poverty pay and poor working conditions are rife in the clothing manufacturing industry, and that the notion of “Made in Europe” or more expensive clothing being made in better conditions is just a myth.

The report reveals that the legal minimum wages only covers between 14% (Bulgaria, Ukraine, Macedonia) and 36% (Croatia) of a basic living wage. Croatia had more than 27,000 garment and shoe manufacturing industry workers registered in 2011.

“Unions do not have the opportunity to bargain for higher wages since they have to constantly fight illegal practices such as long-term unpaid overtime and unpaid social contributions or long-term unpaid wages”, a Croatian Unionist said.

Germany’s Der Spiegel writes that Hugo Boss in Croatia and Turkey pay their staff pittance.

“This luxury fashion brand pays its staff between 308 and 440 euros a month, which is below their social standards and below standards in other countries.” (pic: Wikipedia)

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