Beyonce’s Clothing Line Ivy Park Is Paying Sweatshop Workers 54 Cents/Hour, Sources Say

Beyonce’s Ivy Park apparel line is still abusing factory workers in Sri Lanka, according to more claims disclosed over the weekend.  The clothing line, which preaches female empowerment, is paying women approximately 54 cents an hour.

Beyonce’s clothing line, Ivy Park, is all about female empowerment.  But it looks like Ivy Park is abusing female workers half a world away.  Additionally, it also appears that the brand is unwilling to make adjustments to its labor abuse practices, despite mounting accusations.

The allegations of horrific sweatshop working conditions first surfaced last year.  Yet according to a leak this weekend to DMN, production contracts with the sweatshop factories in question still appear intact.  Terms of the contracts themselves, which forbid any worker unionization, have largely been left unchanged.

Back in May of 2016, factory workers at the MAS factory conglomerate in Sri Lanka were found assembling Ivy Park merchandise.  The workers, who are prohibited from being unionized, are paid approximately 54 cents (US) an hour according to a report by the UK-based Sun.  “Poverty-stricken seamstresses making some of the clothes in the MAS Holdings ­factory in Sri Lanka earn just £4.30 a day,” the report noted.

Workers are quartered in small dormitories, with common showers and unsafe conditions.  As a safety precaution, women are locked inside the facility at night.

£4.30 translates to roughly $5.37 a day.  In a grueling, 10-hour period, that translates to about 54 cents per hour.

Most of the workers at the sweatshop facilities are women, according to the company.  That makes Beyonce’s female-focused mission statements seem pretty hallow.  “My goal with Ivy Park is to push the boundaries of ­athletic wear and to support and inspire women who understand that beauty is more than your physical appearance,” Beyonce said last year.  “True beauty is in the health of our minds, hearts and bodies.”

DMN has attempted to contact Ivy Park across multiple channels, but has not yet received a response.

Immediately after the report in May, the clothing line did respond.  But they declined to offer any changes to its MAS contracts.  “Ivy Park has a rigorous ethical trading program,” the company offered.

“We are proud of our sustained efforts in terms of factory inspections and audits. Our teams worldwide work very closely with our suppliers and their factories to ensure compliance. We expect our suppliers to meet our code of conduct and we support them in achieving these requirements.”

But according to at least one source, that statement was merely PR spin.  “It was just trying to make [the scandal] go away for a news cycle,” the source explained.  Indeed, the statement itself says nothing about changing practices, only pushing responsibility on to MAS.

The price of an Ivy Park article ranges from around $30 up to $300.  That would require more than a month’s wages at the Sri Lankan factory, though we hope they’re pilfering a few stray items.

 

22 Responses

  1. TBD

    How much would they make at their next best alternative? Presumably less, right?

    So in that context, would it really be better for her to be offering them nothing at all? How would that improve their lives lives?

    • Markle

      WOW, you justify SLAVERY — how much would the Darkies be making in Africa?

      • TBD

        “Slavery” assumes that they are being forced to work there. If they are not being forced, and have a next best alternative that they can freely choose, then it isn’t slavery. It’s poverty. And the cure to poverty is opportunity and development.

        If their next best option in their country is $0.48 an hour or worse, isn’t $0.54 an hour better? And especially so if its under better working conditions?

        (Also remember that the cost of living is dramatically lower there, so $0.50 an hour there is absolutely nothing like $0.50 an hour here.)

        Without gradually rising wages, how is any country supposed to get out of poverty? Would you rather condemn them to eternal poverty? Because a country going from $0.50/hour to $50/hour does not happen over night.

        It can however, happen over a generation or two of steadily increases wages due to exactly these kinds of factors. Just like it happened in the west.

        • Confucious

          So what you’re suggesting is that the US deliberately keeps certain countries “poor” to provide us with a cheap manufacturing base… what a revelation!! You’re still an idiot though.

          • gb

            us government does alot of things we dont know about shady things unless you work for FBI or, secret service no body really know whats going on? secret trading , slavery, poverty. you must be shady to stay rich and powerful the honest ugly truth .

    • Remi Swierczek

      Very good market based response to the savior of the World!

      Still many unknown MUSICIANS in the USA who do not belong to UMG / MEGA STAR music suicide team make same 54¢ per hour. Would be much better if Beyonce and partner would invest time in new music game board in stead plowing the business to streaming cliff.

      It is unfortunate because they have mega live and fame related income for life and are withdrawn from reality!
      Chances that they will wake up and change music status quo for everyone are low.

  2. andrew

    we are not talking about improving their lives. we are talking about people who are being exploited. the idea of yours ‘ be grateful of what you get’ wouldn’t be applied in your own life if you were underpaid at your job.

    • TBD

      Define “underpaid”. If the prevailing wage is $0.50 in your area, and the work you do creates say, $1 in value, then nothing between $0.50 and $1 could be considered “underpaid”.

      Same goes when you ad zeroes. If the prevailing wage in your area is $50,000 and the work you do adds $100,000 in value to the company, then nothing between $50,000 and $100,00 can reasonably be considered “underpaid”.

      As more people gain employment by accepting jobs at say, $54,000, companies will slowly have to bid up the prices of labor until they’re $60,000 and $64,000 and $75,000 and so on.

      But, so that they don’t lose profit, they would then seek to add to workers’ producivity by adding capital investment so that the worker is now generating $150,000 or $200,000 in value and the company can justify the increasing wages.

      This is the virtuous cycle of productivity and re-investment that has brought true prosperity to the entire developed world. If you reduce the number of zeroes, the logic stays exactly the same. And in fact, developed nations once did experience this same process, minus several zeroes, only a handful of generations ago.

      Before 1800, Western developed nations were as poor (in fact poorer in material terms) than these nations are today.

      This is in fact the way out of poverty: Commerce and trade and productivity and re-investment. But it doesn’t happen overnight.

  3. Gustavo Woltmann

    I do not think Beyonce pays so little to her workers, they should look for better sources of information, she is a good person and not stingy

    • Jf

      There are numerous articles from different publications regarding Beyonce underpaying her workers . A google search is all thats required.

  4. Peter Bogdanoff

    Interesting comments. A little research:
    http://www.wageindicator.org/main/salary/minimum-wage/sri-lanka

    Sri Lanka: Highest skilled minimum wage in 2013–9500 rupees/month or $63/month
    New national minimum wage law in 2016 is 10,000 rupees/month or $66.40/month
    10,000 rupees/month works out to 462 rupees/day or $3.07/day or 58 rupees/hour or $.39/hour in an 8-hour day. This would include holidays; if they are not paid for holidays, the minimum hourly wage would be higher.

    So, if the workers sewing Ivy Park apparel are now being paid $.54/hour, that is 140% of the national minimum wage.

    The chart with 2013 wages shows the spread between lowest unskilled and and highest skilled labor pay rate in the industrial sector as being about 145% higher wage for the highest skilled labor compared to lowest unskilled labor.

    Which, according to my calculations, as Dorothy Ann in the Magic Schoolbus would say, these garment workers are receiving about the highest pay for skilled labor in Sri Lanka.

    Although I can’t say whose clothing line they’re working on, the picture of the garment workers in Sri Lanka, if that is what it is, doesn’t look like a sweatshop! I’ve seen some shops in LA’s garment district, and this one looks OK.

    • Danwriter

      Like I said, they’d be earning wages on a par with those of teachers there. Look closely at the photo and notice that the workers are wearing uniforms indicating they work for KukDong, a Korean apparel company. (https://www.emis.com/php/company-profile/KR/Kukdong_Corporation_en_1650962.html) The photo has no attribution, unfortunately, but likely has no actual relevance to the story. Kind of like a generic shot of the Eiffel Tower for a travel story on Europe.

      • Peter Bogdanoff

        But of course this story is not about reality as many would define it, but about spin or attention-getting or readers to this page where $ is received for ads flashed before eyeballs. And just think, we all fell for it!

      • Peter Bogdanoff

        From that emis.com webpage, KukDong “operates in markets including Indonesia, Mexico and USA.” I would venture that picture was taken in Mexico. Also the filename is “sweatshop_ivy.png” so do a Google image search for “sweatshop” and this one comes up at #18. And the page it is from,
        http://career.iresearchnet.com/career-development/sweatshop-labor/
        defines sweatshop labor as “work performed under conditions that violate normal standards of minimum wage, employment, worker treatment, and workplace health or safety.”

        From what can I determine, the workers are paid substantially above minimum wage.

        Maybe this article isn’t about workers in Sri Lanka at all, but about Beyonce.

        • Eliza P.

          Lol so you’re just gonna ignore everything else in the article because you think $.54 is justified given the low national minimum wage? Okay.

          “Yet according to a leak this weekend to DMN, production contracts with the sweatshop factories in question still appear intact. Terms of the contracts themselves, which forbid any worker unionization, have largely been left unchanged.”

          “Workers are quartered in small dormitories, with common showers and unsafe conditions. As a safety precaution, women are locked inside the facility at night.”

  5. Buhbooyah

    Everything about Beyonce is a fraud, from this to her hair color to her bad singing. She is the perfect American – self-involved and untalented but a relentless mercenary self-involved every day.

  6. THE DUDE

    I can honestly say, I’m not surprised by this article. In today’s day and age, there’s almost always a certain level of narcissism when you preach a moral high ground. Sad, but true.