After a Guardian report revealed that factory workers who make clothes for high street retailers are being paid as little as 13p per hour for a 48-hour week, two of Britain’s major high street chains, Primark and Mothercare are launching enquiries. India’s biggest ready-made clothing exporter, Gokaldas Export, supplier of brands such as Marks & Spencers, Mothercare and H&M, verified that wages paid to garment workers were as little as £1.13 for a nine-hour day. This falls below the minimum international labour standards established by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), whose members include Marks & Spencers, Mothercare, Gap and Primark.
Employees of factories owned by exporters who supply Gap and Matalan claimed that were forced to work overtime without pay to meet unachievable production targets. Allegedly the largely female workforce was harassed and bullied by male production managers and supervisors for failing to achieve targets and were not allowed sick leave.
John Hilary from War on Want said, “Exploitation of workers in developing countries such as India is standard practice for British retailers right across the spectrum. This just underlines the urgent need for Gordon Brown to step in now and stop these abuses once and for all.” The retailers in question have promised to look into these issues, but it shouldn’t take media reports for them to take action on worker exploitation. Fair, just and safe working conditions should be a basic minimum standard for all employees, anywhere in the world.
[via The Guardian]