WRC Factory Investigation

Fountain Garments Manufacturing Ltd.

Factory: Fountain Garments Manufacturing Ltd.

Key Buyers: H&M, Kontoor

Last Updated: 2021

Case Summary

The apparel industry’s chronically low wages left most garment workers with no savings on the eve of the Covid-19 crisis. Since most governments in apparel exporting countries provide little or no unemployment benefits, the only thing standing between an out-of-work garment worker and immediate poverty for her family are the legally mandated severance benefits that most garment workers are due upon termination.

Research by the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) reveals that many garment workers who were fired during the pandemic have been denied some or all of this essential compensation, in violation of the law and the labor rights obligations of the brands and retailers whose clothes they sewed.

Fountain Garments Manufacturing is one of the 31 export garment factories identified in the WRC’s report, Fired, Then Robbed: Fashion brands’ complicity in wage theft during Covid-19, which still owed workers legally mandated terminal compensation as of April 2021. In July 2020, Fountain Garments Manufacturing dismissed 714 workers. As of April 2021, these workers were still waiting for $21,420 in legally owed compensation.

Fountain Garments Manufacturing Ltd., a sewing facility located at 61-62, Gazirchat, DEPZ Road, Ashulia, Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh, is a subsidiary of Rabab Group, which owns two other factories in Bangladesh. H&M listed the factory in its November 2020 and February 2021 supplier lists. Kontoor Brands included it in its June 2020 and November 2020 disclosures. In a January 2021 letter, H&M told the WRC that the dismissed workers received payments under a tripartite agreement. The WRC has reviewed this agreement and finds that it provided for only part of the terminal compensation benefits that workers are legally owed.

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