textile factory

Textile Plants



resort outskirt boom (2)
wage textile trade union
brand supply seamstress
allow aware surrounding
entitle beyond access
thorn pursue thorn in the side
dare lure in order to
fired appear backing
sew get by fabric
sort count scrape by
scrape keep up even then





The outskirts of Georgia’s Black Sea resort town of Batumi is home to a booming textile industry.

Trade union leaders say some 7,000 seamstresses work in the area. They’re employed by Turkish subcontractors who supply Western clothing brands.

Many of the women come from surrounding villages and aren’t aware of labor laws.

Wages are extremely low.

This trade union organizer wants to inform them about their rights. He says the women are entitled to fight for better pay.

He’s not allowed beyond the factory gate. Independent inspectors are also denied access.

Ilia Verdzadze, Georgian Textile Workers Union: “I’ve been asking them how much they earn, but they won’t tell me. If their income was good, they’d say so.”

Trade unions are a thorn in the side of Georgia’s government, which has pursued a policy of low wages and weak benefits in order to lure foreign investors.

Seamstress: “Right now we are trying to get 24 vacation days a year. Currently they only want to give us only 15 days.”

Few workers dare to speak up for their rights. Employees say those who tried in the past were fired.

These women only agreed to appear on camera because they have union backing. They say people need €250 a month to get by in Georgia. But the seamstresses only earn €150 a month—at the most.

Nino Gurgenidze, Seamstress: “They only pay for the time that the sewing machine is actually in operation. They don’t pay for the time for find and prepare the fabrics, or for labeling, counting or sorting of the finished products.”

“You have to work very, very fast. And even then, you only scrape by.

Employees unable to keep up with these rates take home monthly paychecks of less than €60.

Union leaders hope that greater awareness of workers rights will eventually help to improve conditions.


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1. What are some of the main industries in Batumi?

2. Virtually all the seamstresses live in Batumi. True or false? How many people work in textile factories?

3. Do the factories deal directly with major clothes brands?

4. “I’ve been asking them how much they earn, but they won’t tell me.” What does this mean? Why don’t they tell him?

5. The textile companies and government like the trade unions and their leaders. Is this correct or wrong? Why don’t they like them?

6. What are the goals of the clothes companies and the government?

7. Describe the wages and work conditions.
A. Why did the textile companies invest in Batumi, Georgia?

B. How do the women feel about the textile plants? Do they have mixed feelings?

C. What could or should the women do?

D. What will happen in the future?

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