Turkey: End deadly jeans sandblasting-CCC

December 4, 2010

Deadly jeans sandblasting must end

Clean Clothes Campaign: November 29, 2010



The Solidarity Committee of Denim Sandblasting Labourers of Turkey and the Clean Clothes Campaign, supported by dozens of trade unions and labour-rights NGOs, demanded that jeans brands stop selling sandblasted jeans, and encouraged governments to investigate an importation ban. The call was launched at a press conference in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Nov. 27.


Organisations and individuals were urged to sign up to an online appeal that can be found at http://www.cleanclothes.org/news/killer-jeans


Jeans are sandblasted to give parts of the fabric a faded, worn out or bleached look. These jeans are profitable business: the retail prices of sandblasted jeans is often significantly higher than jeans without such finishings. Therefore, jeans producers think they found a cheap way of increasing their profits. However, there is a hidden cost: sandblasting operators working in the countries where most of our garments are produced – such as Bangladesh, China, Mexico, Egypt, and others – contract an acute form of silicosis. In Turkey alone, 46 known cases of former sandblasting operators who succumbed to sandblasting-related silicosis were registered until the practice was banned by the government in March 2009. In reality the number could be far higher than the registered cases.


The current organisation of garment production through long international subcontracting chains, often based in countries where Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) procedures are routinely violated, makes it impossible for jeans producers to guarantee the highly complicated and technically advanced safety procedures necessary to sandblast jeans in a safe way. Considering the very high OHS risks and fatal consequences of jeans sandblasting, we call on the jeans companies to phase out all jeans sandblasting from their supply chains.


Recently, jeans producer Levi-Strauss and fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) have announced they will stop selling sandblasted jeans for this reason. Such positive signals are encouraging, and shows that the industry is ready to act on this issue. Still, actions by a few companies alone will not be enough to cover the entire sector. The organisations encourage governments to look into an importation ban for these jeans.


The Clean Clothes Campaign and its allies also called on jeans brands that still sell sandblasted jeans to start phasing out production with immediate effect. They ask consumers to tell brands they don’t want to buy killer jeans.


In Turkey, a successful campaign by the Solidarity Committee is currently aiming at their government to ensure that silicosis victims from the jeans industry are awarded a disablement pension, without distinguishing between workers in the formal or informal economy, and they won a court case about this issue last October. Recently, the Solidarity Committee drafted new legislation and submitted it to the Ministry of Labour, but the Ministry seems hesitant in taking up this issue actively.


The press conference in Istanbul took place right after the Clean Clothes Campaign’s International Forum that brought together over one hundred labour rights organisations, trade unions and women’s rights organisations that campaign for fair conditions in the garments industry. The organisations adopted a manifesto supporting the call for an end to the sandblasting of jeans and other textiles.


More info at:

www.kotisceleri.org (English/Turkish)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: