As the global garment industry struggles to keep up with demand, it is being asked how the hashtag can help a garment worker struggling to make ends meet.
The hashtag is a way to get people to share their stories of hardship and poverty, especially in the developing world.
“I feel that the hashtag is important because it helps bring about change,” said Ailish McDonough, who is from South Africa and is the founder of Global Fashion Forward.
“People are starting to understand the plight of the workers, but what they don’t understand is that the clothing they buy has a direct impact on the people who make the clothes.”
It’s really important that we understand that we’re buying from people who are going to use this money to pay for their children’s education and their healthcare and so on.
Jones, who lives in Los Angeles, said the hashtag had been used by many people.””
There is such a massive problem of people buying and selling in the US who are desperate to buy clothes that are made in countries where they don´t even live,” said the actor, actress and activist Leslie Jones, who has a Twitter account called @Lesdogggress.
Jones, who lives in Los Angeles, said the hashtag had been used by many people.
“In the UK, I have been receiving messages from people from around the world who are calling out to me, saying that the clothes they buy and wear are not just made in sweatshops, they are made by people who actually have the ability to feed themselves, to buy food, to work, and to provide for their families,” she said.
“They’re the people that really need to have the same basic rights as everyone else.”
A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that workers in the garment industry are now earning around 70 cents an hour, the same as in the UK.
The study also found that more than half of all US workers are not unionised, while only 20 per cent of garment workers are unionised.
The Irish garment industry is one of the poorest in the world, according to a 2015 study by McKinsey & Co. “We need to stop blaming it on China, it’s actually the Irish people, they need to work harder to be able to earn a living,” said Ms Jones.
“We’ve got to get the factories to recognise that we don’t want them to be working in sweatshop conditions, we need to recognise what we need is fair and decent working conditions, so we can actually get the clothes we want.”
The Irish government has also put in place a national strategy to fight the trade in textiles.
“We are looking at the impact of globalisation on our labour supply chains and we want to do everything we can to protect our workers, including by ensuring that we ensure our workers are paid a living wage,” said Environment Minister Shane Ross.
The Irish Government has said that a minimum wage of €8.20 per hour will be introduced for garment workers, and that the minimum wage for garment and textile workers will be set at $15.
In the run up to the launch of the hashtag, the Irish Government said it would raise the minimum hourly wage to €9.30 and increase the minimum overtime pay to €13.50 per hour.
Ireland is the only EU member state to introduce a minimum hourly pay, and in December 2016 the Irish government also introduced a $15 minimum wage.
Irish Government sources have said that there are no plans to raise the maximum wage for a garment factory worker to $15 per hour, but the government is considering raising it in the future.
The hashtag has also been used to highlight the plight and unemployment of garment factories in Bangladesh.
In October 2017, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said that Bangladesh had the world’s highest garment factory labour force.
The ILO said the industry employs more than 12 million workers, of whom 12.3 million are women.
The industry has been accused of being a source of slave labour.
In January 2018, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called on Bangladesh to end its practices of trafficking in women and girls and to increase the number of inspectors on the ground to help improve conditions.
For more information on how to use #FreeTheGarment, visit the Irish Embassy in Washington, DC or call the Irish Consulate in New York.
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