Due to the pandemic, most of garment factories have been closed. Many workers were forced to take unpaid leave. Some turned to sewing face masks.
The Polish garment industry is built on exploitation.
The “made in Poland” label doesn’t mean the clothing is manufactured with respect for human rights.

The Polish garment industry is built on exploitation.

Let’s change this! Say no to exploitation!
​Donate 1% of your tax to the Buy Responsibly Foundation and support us
​in our efforts to improve the situation of Polish garment workers.

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WHAT WILL WE DO WITH THE MONEY FROM YOUR 1% DONATIONS?
 
For years, we have been actively involved in efforts to make our planet clean and our shopping responsible, and this year we are focusing on working conditions of Polish garment workers. We are collecting money for a social awareness campaign on this issue (“Zysk nie wyzysk”) that will comprise:
  • producing embroidery by Monika Drożyńska, a visual artist, social activist, urban embroidery creator
  • showing the embroidery in public space
  • initiating public debate on the exploitation of seamstresses in the Polish garment industry and taking action on this issue.
The cost of the awareness campaign is 8,000 zlotys that we have to raise in order to publicize the issue and encourage consumers, producers and other actors on the political stage to introduce change. Are you with us?
 
WHAT HAVE WE DONE ALREADY?
  • Interviews with 22 seamstresses – they’ve become the basis for media articles about problems faced by Polish garment workers.
  • A media campaign in support for seamstresses – 15 publications in traditional media, reaching over 1 million people.
  • Support for 3 seamstresses during court proceedings – they were fired from their factory on disciplinary grounds after going on strike against poor working conditions.
  • We operated a hotline for seamstresses for 4 months – supportive talks with garment workers, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts.
  • We have worked with the Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment – as a result, she made an intervention and obliged the Chief Labour Inspectorate to submit report on the inspections carried out so far.
  • We have talked to 6 garment companies sourcing from Poland about what should be done to improve the situation of seamstresses.
  • We have involved 22 seamstresses from over 13 towns in these activities and we’ve started working with trade unions, experts and other organizations.
Due to the pandemic, most of garment factories have been closed. A lot of workers were forced to take unpaid leave. Some turned to sewing face masks. Today, clothing factories are slowly preparing to get back to work. Seamstresses are about to return to “normality” which is not as colourful as the clothes they make. What does their “normal” work look like? A twelve-hour workday, payments delayed for two months, verbal abuse, minimum pay – this is what work often is like for Polish seamstresses who’s made the face mask you’re wearing. Stand up for them.
During the pandemic garment workers have no means of support. They used to work over 12 hours a day for 1600 zlotys net pay, without vacation, without sick leave, without respect from their supervisors. When buying clothes, we don’t think about the working conditions of the people who make these T-shirts, dresses, jackets etc. Let’s demand living wage to be the standard in the Polish garment industry. Let’s do it together.
“Made in Poland” doesn’t necessarily mean its “all good.” We should ask questions and check the conditions where Polish garments are manufactured. “Seamstresses in this country have no rights. They are intimidated. Mobbing, shouting, crying are the norm. Lack of respect and coercion also occur on a daily basis. They think they can do anything with us” – said Barbara from Łask in Łódzkie province, one of several seamstresses who took part in the Foundation’s research and worked up the courage to talk about their difficult experiences.