Labour standards for workers in the leather-based garment, footwear and accessories value chain

South Asia is an important hub for the production of leather garment, footwear and accessories across the world. Approximately 2.5 million, 500,000 and 130,000 people are working in the leather value chain of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh respectively. It includes tanneries, small leather workshops, home-based units, large and small garments and leather goods factories. But, the rights of leather workers are systematically violated and workers are deprived of fundamental rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining (CB). They have to undergo fewer wages, severe OSH risks (including exposure to toxic chemicals and unsafe machinery), forced overtime, discrimination, lack of social security and child labour.

The overall objective of the Decent Leather project is to improve working conditions and reduce labour rights abuses by promoting adherence to international labour standards (ILS) and corporate social responsibilities (CSR) in leather-based, garment, footwear and accessories value chains. The specific objective is an increased commitment by the private sector and government stakeholders to fulfill their human rights due to diligence obligations, focusing on production hubs in South Asia, in particular in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, more particularly in vellore and Chennai districts, greater Karachi, and greater Dhaka where high concentrations of tanneries and export-oriented factories are found. Subcontracting of work, through a chain of intermediaries, from large manufacturers to leather workshops and home-based production units (i.e. second-and third-tier suppliers) will be looked into.

Bangladesh Labour Foundation (BLF) is part of the Together for Decent leather,  a three-year programme carried out by a European-Asian consortium of seven civil society organisations from the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Our goal is to improve working conditions and to reduce labour rights abuses, focusing on leather product production hubs in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

The Together for Decent Leather programme is co-funded by the European Union

See more information on the programme website.

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