Partnership Initiative Tamil Nadu – Systemic Improvements of Labour Conditions in the Tamil Nadu Textile and Garment Industry


The Tamil Nadu textile industry is characterised by violations of the fundamental rights of workers along the supply chain. Especially in the lower tiers of the supply chain – such as spinning mills – exploitation through excessive overtime, repression of trade unions, sexual harassment and lack of freedom of association pose a threat to female local employees. In most cases there is no lack of corresponding laws and regulations, but rather of compliance and enforcement of existing ones. It is due to the lack of knowledge of workers regarding their rights and limited awareness of violations on the part of management. The aim of the Partnership Initiative is to systemically improve labour conditions in the textile and clothing industry in Tamil Nadu in southern India and, in particular, to change the situation of women and girls in spinning mills to the better. In close cooperation with the Indian Multi-Stake-holder Initiative Tamil Nadu (MSI-TN), changes will be initiated.

Short description

Together the partners introduce change at three levels:

  • A dialogue between the main stakeholder groups in the local textile industry will raise awareness of workers’ rights.
  • A training programme will support the planned establishment of complaints committees in 300 factories and inform workers and management about labour rights and complaint mechanisms.
  • Labour and accommodation inspections will be improved through training for 40 state inspectors and adaption of international standards.

Module A: Dialogue
Regular exchanges with the government, industry (factories and associations), NGOs and trade unions both at the state level and at the level of the four main production districts Coimbatore, Dindigul, Erode and Tirupur will be initiated to help establish a broad under-standing of sustainability among all stakeholders and jointly initiate measures for social improvements in the textile sector. Dialogue processes and structures are to be formalised and expanded by setting up a steering committee that meets regularly. The project will also include two major annual conferences involving Partnership members in Tamil Nadu and at least six dialogue meetings at state level, as well as bimonthly meetings at district level involving local stakeholders from the private and public sectors and from civil society.

Module B: In-Factory Trainings
In order to ensure compliance with basic labour and human rights standards, the management of the respective factory must be sensitised to these standards and the workers must be informed of their rights and have access to complaint mechanisms. For this reason comprehensive training programmes are carried out in 300 factories (mainly spinning mills): management and workers are informed about complaint mechanisms, labour rights and standards. In addition to that statutory complaints committees (Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), Grievance Redressal Committee (GRC)) are established and staffed. In order to ensure the continuous functionality and effectivity of the newly formed committees, there will be additional capacity building for the members who are elected by secret ballot. The training programmes are carried out by a total of 80 trainers from 40 local NGOs. These trainers will acquire the necessary knowledge and qualifications through a Training-of-Trainers programme in order to subsequently conduct training courses in factories themselves.

Module C: Inspector Trainings
In cooperation with the Government of Tamil Nadu, a total of 40 state labour inspectors shall be trained to improve the quality of inspections in factories and workers’ accommodation.


After preparatory talks with local representatives of all relevant stakeholder groups in Tamil Nadu – including a joint workshop in September 2017 – the implementation of these activities began in July 2018.

Partnership Initiative Tamil Nadu – Systemic Improvements of Labour Conditions in the Tamil Nadu Textile and Garment Industry

Country / Region:
India / Tamil Nadu

Project running time:
01.07.2018 – 29.02.2020

Project partners:
Key Partners: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), FEMNET e. V., Hugo Boss, Kik, Otto Group, Tchibo

Associated Partners: TransFair, Brands Fashion

Implementation Partner: Multi-Stakeholder Initiative Tamil Nadu (MSI-TN) , SAVE (Social Awareness and Voluntary Education)

Hendrik Plein
+49 228 4460-1911

Worker in a textile factory in Tamil Nadu.
© Textile Partnership / Christian Wollnik

Worker in a textile factory in Tamil Nadu.
© Textile Partnership / Christian Wollnik

as of March 2018