Only in the Philippines

100 percent rejected

Sometimes, if one is unlucky, 100 percent of the clothes are rejected by the quality-control inspector, she says. She has no choice then, but to repair the whole batch or have it repaired in the factory. If it is repaired in the factory, an additional fee is charged to the subcontractor.

Once the clothes are approved by the quality-control inspector, she delivers them to the factory. Another inspection takes place, with the same fate befalling the rejected clothes.

Those that pass the standards will be delivered to various department stores in the country. There, the clothes will be tagged with prices as high as 10 times the amount paid to her, says Alcantara.

Then she waits for 15 days after her delivery to get the payment, 10 percent of which is withheld as some sort of deposit. She explains further that she will get the 10 percent after the clothes are delivered to the department stores. This is to ensure that the clothes are all acceptable.

She pays her employees depending on how many pieces they are able to finish. A slow worker earns less than a faster one. Alcantara gets 60 percent of the amount paid for each piece, from this she allots 20 percent for electricity and other overhead expenses. The remaining 40 percent is divided among the sewers.

For example, if she is paid P40 ($0.77) for a blouse, she gets P24 ($0.46) and the remaining P16 ($0.31) is divided among the workers. Assuming they are able to finish 500 clothes a week or around 71 clothes a day and they are paid P40 per piece, the subcontractor gets P1704 ($32.96) a day. The workers divide the remaining P1136 ($21.97) or an average of P66.82 ($1.29) per person.


Come 2010, she’d rather retire than continue with the business. There have been a lot of problems, such as her P10, 000 ($193.46) electric bill, and the nitty-gritty involved in the work. And then, there’s the problem with “hard-headed employees.”

She claims that she’s not much affected by the economic crisis. Though she observes that sometimes, the number of garments she is supposed to finish are reduced by 1,000. This usually happens during off seasons such as at the beginning of the year, when people are still reeling from the expenses of the past year.

For such a pittance, it’s surprising that people are willing to do that much work. And yet, for that much work, it’s a pity foreign companies don’t give the workers what is due to them. (

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