Ivanka Trump manufacturer pays labour near Chinese minimum wage: report

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Ivanka Trump
Ivanka Trump takes her seat before the third and final 2016 presidential campaign debate between Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at UNLV in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, October 19, 2016. Reuters/Mike Blake

A China-based company owned by G-III Apparel Group, which owns the rights to manufacture and distribute Ivanka Trump brand, allegedly commits violations of international labour standards. G-III required its 80 workers to work almost 60 hours per week for a near Chinese minimum wage, US$62 (AU$82) a week, according to a factory audit released Monday.

Based on a report by independent group Fair Labor Association, employees were routinely required to render extra work hours in order to meet production targets. It did not specifically mention which brands were being assembled during a two-day inspection in October.

Workers had to work 82 hours of overtime per month between September 2015 and August 2016. It is against the Chinese law, which has set a limit of 36 overtime hours per month. Per the national data from 2014, the average manufacturing employee in urban China made twice as much money as the factory’s workers. The name and exact location of the factory was not provided.

The first daughter has no leadership role in G-III Apparel Group. It was also unclear if the unnamed factory was working on Ivanka merchandise at the time of the inspection.

The Washington Post noted that G-III factories have  shipped over 110 tons of Ivanka branded items, such as blouses, skirts, dresses and other items, to the United States since October. It has become the sole maker of the first daughter’s clothing brand in 2012, the same year when Ivanka said the company “has distinguished itself as a trusted partner for some of the world’s finest and most visible brands.”

The news comes amid Ivanka’s efforts to cast herself as a champion of workplace issues with her new book, “Women Who Work,” which is slated to be out in May. On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump’s daughter was reportedly in Germany for public discussions about global entre­pre­neur­ship and empowerment.

Meanwhile, her father pushes for his “buy American, hire American” agenda. He previously signed an executive order that he said would ensure that American labor is hired.

Earlier this week, Ivanka contributed an essay to Financial Times, in which she said that increasing women’s labour force participation, business ownership and productivity of their work are ways to add billions to the global economy. She stepped down from management roles of her brand when she took an adviser role in his father’s presidency. G-III Apparel Group is yet to comment about the report.

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