The Workers Consortium, an international labor rights organization, claims that factories in Karnataka are refusing to pay garment workers the required minimum wage. These garment workers produce clothing for global companies. Since April 2020, more than 4,00,000 garment workers in Karnataka have not been paid the state’s mandated minimum wage.
With thousands of factories and hundreds of thousands of people, Karnataka is one of India’s garment-industry heartlands, manufacturing clothes for multinational names such as Puma, Nike, Zara, Tesco, C&A, Gap, Marks & Spencer, and H&M. Western brands have either refused to intervene or have taken no action to guarantee that the employees who make their clothing are paid according to Indian law. Clearly, salaries are insufficient to cover even the most basic demands of employees and their families. Apparel suppliers are the only industry in Karnataka that has refused to comply with a court decision requiring the payment of minimum wages. Not obtaining a salary raise in the face of rapidly growing living costs has had a terrible impact on the lives of employees in Karnataka and their families, particularly children. One lady, who works in a factory that produces apparel for UK high street firms, was forced to move in with a relative when she couldn’t afford to pay her rent.