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Fashion Isn’t All About Passion: Hidden Manpower Issues Behind the Garment Industry

Fashion is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Garment workers who suffer from low wages camouflage behind its glitz and glamour, masking the current labor struggle are the beauty in its very façade.

The UNICEF and the International Labor Organization reported that while this is one of the most important sectors of the global economy which creates jobs for the low skilled, this is also the same industry which exploits most of its workers.

Underpaid Fashion

garment worker

If not unpaid, some are underpaid. That is why garment workers are still equivalent to entry-level employees. Overtime is forced in most factories.

Garment workers make very little money. What is even more disturbing is that thousands, if not millions, of garment workers, are victims of human trafficking. Many corporations find it easy to keep their profits by keeping underpaid and indebted workers due to employment fees, rather than spending valuable resources to responsible and ethical recruitment that abides by the laws of international human rights.

World’s 40 million garment workers, 80% of which are women, are indeed under the quicksand of slave labor. It is in this light that the garment industry has provided jobs that help a lot of women to elevate their standards of living, but this never guarantees them with a better standard of life.

They still receive lesser pay than men even if living wages is as critical for women who take the primary role in providing for their family. In a report by Asia Floor Wage, wages paid to fashion workers are not enough to provide families with their basic needs.

Blood and Sweat

garment worker

Based on reports of the Human Rights Watch, nonstop clothing production drives garment workers to work to their limits. It is a common norm among clothing companies when overtime work doesn’t equate to higher pay.

They are forced to work 14 to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. Peak season is a different story. They must work until 2:00 or 3:00 am to meet the deadline for the fashion brand. Their low wage makes them not to refuse overtime. But in some unfortunate cases, overtime work is not even paid at all.

Failure to meet “unreachable” quotas may even be paid with verbal or physical abuses such as insult from supervisors, denied breaks, and worse, denial of water. Unfortunately, 60% of garments workers were unable to meet manufacturing targets.

Danger Zone

factory workers

Even with grave incidents of accidents and even deaths in many factories, many companies continue to disobey safety standards. Some even continue to place their workers in dangerous conditions.

This hidden truth in the fashion industry has claimed thousands of lives. The ill working condition and the poor sustainability of the industry to its manpower resources have been killing them from scandalous factory fire to accident-prone workplaces.

Workplace conditions include poor ventilation, high level of toxic substances, and fiber dust. This makes it prone for workers to acquire accidents, injuries, and diseases. Reported cases suggest that when a woman acquired a disease or get pregnant, she will either be demoted to lesser pay or fired immediately out of a medical issue.

Fashion, which is a female-dominated arena, has poorly-protected their workers. This is mainly because many big retail manufacturing company owners and managers are all still men.

Apart from responsible head hunting, ethical recruitment advocates revolutionizing the existing landscape of workplaces and jobsites to promote protection of workers, to stimulate attraction and to encourage retention, and to essentially leverage human resources as a major key for industry success.

ABOUT THE COMPANY: Rensol Recruitment and Consulting, Inc. is the fastest growing recruitment agency in The Philippines. A career consultant that aims to go above and beyond the level of expectations of both the aspirations of the candidates and the dream team standards of employers through providing exceptional opportunities and unparalleled quality-driven recruitment services.

Humanness: The Greatest Asset of The Brick and Mortar Stores in the Retail Industry

People in Retail Industry

A physical storage vs. the Cloud, paperback vs. e-book, manual vs. automatic – the battle between digital and traditional continues and has now reached even the low-profile walls of the retail industry.

The 21st-century retail, as always, runs on the art of persuading people to purchase products. However, in recent years, there’s been a gradual transition from the traditional brick and mortar stores to the modern e-tailing business. This has left many consumers, old and new, wondering whether to stick to the tried and tested path or jump on the bandwagon of the latest trends.

The rivalry between the two is growing in the recent years. The capacity of the physical stores to survive against the digital competition was questioned. This issue has risen because of the fast retail shifting; together with the positive sales growth forecasts in business studies for online stores.

On the other hand, there were a lot of researches which showed that most of the consumers still choose to go to supermarkets and other physical store outlets. These results might have given the traditional owners some good news, but still, it cannot change the fact that online stores have been perceived to be reigning in the retail industry because of its accessibility anytime, anywhere. Furthermore, people choose to buy in front of their monitors due to the convenience it offers – saving time and ease of shopping (less crowd, no long lines at the cashier’s deck), plus the impulse buying prevention, which the traditional stores cannot deliver.

Statista, an online statistic, market research and business intelligence portal stated in one of their reports, that there are an estimated 1.66 billion online consumers worldwide in the year 2017 alone, and these numbers have nowhere to go, but up. With billions of busy people opting to patronize online stores due to time constraints, who would not wonder how would the bricks go against the clicks?

Greatest Competitive Advantage of brick and mortar stores – Humanness

In this technological age, the traditional retail stores manage to exist and compete with the e-tailing through the “human feel” that it provides to its customers. This claim is supported by the scientific fact that people are more satisfied and encouraged to buy when they tend to touch and feel the product – helps them to make the purchasing decision. In addition, a survey conducted by Timetrade resulted in a positive 85% response – stating that consumers still prefer purchasing through physical stores over electronic retailing platforms. It further states that more customers prefer to buy at the stores itself with the state of humanness; that is when a storekeeper personally assists them to make a purchase. This serves as the advantage of the brick and mortar retailers against the e-tailers’.

Retail Industry

How can the traditional stores keep up?

There is no way to escape the fact – that sooner or later, the stores that do not have the capability to invest in different retail platforms will evaporate. The only option they have is to innovate, which means, they need to spend rational and financial resources to both physical and online stores. Thus, every brick and mortar retailer must start practicing the power of integration – the combined use of digital platforms and traditional retail methods. This integration will surely take time since the business owners have to learn how to capitalize on both retail channels. While the journey towards this integration is on the process, the ultimate asset of these businesses remains to be their people – people who have the social and intellectual skills, and people who know how to value customer experience.

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The struggle is real in finding good candidates who can assist you with your promise to fulfilling customers satisfaction, while you’re doing the job on preparing to adopt the omnichannel strategy. Hence, manpower providers, like us, exist to help you solve that challenge.

Our years of experience built our expertise to provide businesses with the right workforce to deliver humanness to your customers. Let Rensol support your business!

ABOUT THE COMPANY: Rensol Recruitment and Consulting, Inc. is the fastest growing recruitment agency in The Philippines. A career consultant that aims to go above and beyond the level of expectations of both the aspirations of the candidates and the dream team standards of employers through providing exceptional opportunities and unparalleled quality-driven recruitment services.

How Rensol helped a Retail Customer resolve an Overtime Pay Dispute: A Case Study

Case Study - Oil Company

Client Problem: Former Workers Seek Overtime Pay for Work Hours They Never Rendered

  • Groups formed at Employer Site before end of contract
  • Former workers complained about alleged non-payment of overtime pay of previous employer.

RENSOL’s Solution: Proper Coordination and Problem Solving for the Client

  • Rensol intervened by getting individual sides of both parties regarding the issue.
  • The partner Philippine Recruitment Agency worked on proof using official time sheets and pay slips.
  • Rensol resolved the issue satisfactorily for the client, who was very happy with the resolution and said “More than a recruitment partner, we found new friends at Rensol. We felt their genuine care mediating between us and the complainants and their actions led to the speedy resolution of the problem.”

It’s normal for Rensol Recruitment, a leading reputable recruitment agency in The Philippines to encounter problems the employer faces, and solve these problems keep client and worker satisfaction in mind.

Case on Point: Dispute solved for a Retail Giant

Former employees of a retail giant in the middle east who had their contracts ended and were already sent back to The Philippines petitioned for non-payment of overtime. Their complaint was raised to The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) which had threatened the retail company’s accreditation and reputation before the administration. Being the distinguished and high-principled employer that they are, the retail client is apprehensive of the ill-effects this issue might cause them.  It may harm all their existing contracts and future projects. They also had to face penalties that will be sanctioned by the government in lieu of the alleged damages imposed by their former employees.

Retail client sought Rensol Recruitment’s help to address the Filipino workers’ issue. It’s outside of the agreement signed by Rensol and the Retail principal, however, they went by their above and beyond commitment to their partner and intervened.

Rensol made the proper intervention to address the grievances of both parties.

  1. a) Rensol coordinated with the two parties by means of phone calls, Skype Video Calls, and personal visits to consolidate the opposite sides.
  2. b) Rensol investigated on what really transpired by counterchecking time sheets and pay slips to verify each other’s claims.

Apparently, no paper trails could back up what the two complainants had been appealing. By working on proof, Rensol discovered that there is really no overtime job rendered and the company has no monetary obligations pending for both of their former workers.

RENSOL Intervention

In cases when an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) is still under a contract, mediation or conciliation will be conducted between the company and the employee with the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) labor attaché or Overseas Workers Welfare Administration’s (OWWA) welfare officer. Discussion regarding the complaint and finding an amicable and mutually-acceptable solution will be concluded. This doesn’t need to go as far as a legal battle or worse, repatriation.

In the given case where the two employees have already gone home for over two months, a mediation was made between the employees and the employer with the intervention of the POEA and with Rensol, the partner recruitment agency. This case may have been above the agency’s jurisdiction already, but with their promise to serve their partners even beyond the limitations of their service agreement, Rensol intervened and took the necessary course of action accordingly.

Rensol is as equal protecting their clients from abuses like this. Abiding with due processes, they successfully settled the dispute between the parties, assuring that every right has been protected.

ABOUT THE COMPANY: Rensol Recruitment and Consulting, Inc. is the fastest growing recruitment agency in The Philippines. A career consultant that aims to go above and beyond the level of expectations of both the aspirations of the candidates and the dream team standards of employers through providing exceptional opportunities and unparalleled quality-driven recruitment services.