IEH - Ethical Trading Initiative Norway

Background study of China

The country study on China provides an overview of the general situation including labour conditions in the textile and garment industry in China, a review on Chinese labour laws and regulations as well as their general implementation regarding Labour Standards.

Fair Wear Foundation (FWF)

Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) is a membership organization, in the same way as the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), and assists its members to monitor and improve if necessary, working in producer countries. FWF publishes country reports in the countries they operate in. The focus of FWF's textile industry.

China is the largest exporter of textiles. The general level of labor standards are low. Trade union freedom and the possibility of collective agreements is minimal and limited by law. Salaries for standard working hours are usually too low and overtime is widespread because of labor shortages and high pressure on the lead time. After CSR was introduced to China, cheating on documentation and controls become common. Workers are often trained in how to behave. There are several loopholes in the economic and legal system in China that allows the factory management to not fully compensate the workers. FWF also believes that cultural differences make it difficult to work with factory management on long-term improvements.

The report goes through the textile industry in China, focusing on the background, raw material, wages and labor costs. The report goes further into the working conditions, ethical guidelines and organizations working with and / or in China that might be useful.