© FEMNET | Gisela Burckhardt

Tamil Nadu Partnership Initiative

Tamil Nadu is one of the hotspots for the Indian textile industry. There are approximately 2,000 spinning mills in Tamil Nadu. 80 percent of the workers in the mills are young women and girls. Nationwide, they produce the largest quantity of yarns and fibres. Their working lives are characterised by exploitation through lump-sum contracts, wages below the official minimum wage, excessive overtime, the suppression of trade unions, lack of freedom of association and gender-specific violence. In most cases there is no lack of appropriate laws and regulations, but rather a lack of compliance and enforcement.

One of the most serious labour and human rights violations, particularly in Tamil Nadu, is the Sumangali or Camp Labour system. It forces young girls between the ages of 14 and 18 to perform forced labour. With the Tamil Nadu Alliance Initiative, we are fighting against this and every other form of exploitation in the southern Indian state. In the framework of the Textiles Partnership, we and our partner organisation SAVE have initiated the Tamil Nadu Alliance Initiative which aims to achieve a comprehensive, systemic improvement in working conditions throughout the entire textile and clothing industry of Tamil Nadu. By the beginning of 2020, around 500,000 workers are expected to benefit from this in the long term. Since the start of the initiative in July 2018, our local partners have been working to achieve this goal. A first progress report is already available



Project information

- Subject:
The Partnership for Sustainable Textiles (Textiles Partnership)
- Countries:
- Partners:
FEMNET e.V., HUGO BOSS, KiK, OTTO GROUP, Tchibo, Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ)
- Associated Partners:
Transfair e.V., Brands Fashion
- Partners on site:
Multi-Stakeholder-Initiative Tamil Nadu (MSI-TN) sowie SAVE als Sekretariat der MSI-TN
- Duration:
01.07.2018 – 30.06.2020
- Downloads:
Factsheet 'Partnership Initiative Tamil Nadu' (PDF-file)


Our activities are divided into two modules

pi tamil nadu

Quelle: Factsheet 'Partnership Initiative Tamil Nadu' 


Dialogue: For foreign producers and brand companies, it is difficult to influence the lower production levels such as spinning mills. They are non-transparent, which poses great challenges for ensuring social standards and working conditions. By establishing a permanent dialogue between government, companies, NGOs and trade unions at state level and at district level (e.g. including the four main production districts), we want to ensure that all relevant actors work together in a spirit of trust, openness and cooperation to solve the problems together. The dialogue should also help to anchor a comprehensive understanding of sustainability among all stakeholders.

Training and education: The lack of knowledge of workers about their own rights and the lack of awareness of the management about violations of these rights are huge challenges. Therefore, within the framework of our initiative, trainings for workers and for the management are carried out in about 300 spinning mills. In addition, the dialogue between workers and supervisors is also strengthened in the factories. In order to uncover and eliminate grievances, the state labor inspectors are also being trained in order to carry out more effective controls. More than 80 trainers from 40 NGOs were trained for these measures.