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1 Feb 2021

Annie Kelly, The Guardian

India: Labour groups accuse H&M of failing to adequately intervene to stop alleged intimidation of Kathiravel’s bereaved family by Eastman Exports managers; H&M launches investigation

"Worker at H&M supply factory was killed after months of harassment, claims family", 1 February 2021

The family of a young garment worker at an H&M supplier factory in Tamil Nadu who was allegedly murdered by her supervisor said she had suffered months of sexual harassment and intimidation on the factory floor in the months before her death, but felt powerless to prevent the abuse from continuing.

H&M said it is launching an independent investigation into the killing of Jeyasre Kathiravel, a 20-year-old Dalit garment worker at an H&M supplier Natchi Apparels in Kaithian Kottai, Tamil Nadu, who was found dead on 5 January...

According to police reports, a man working as a supervisor at Natchi Apparels has reportedly confessed and been charged with her abduction and murder. Her family allege that she was also raped and are awaiting the result of a forensic report.

The family and a local union representing female workers at Natchi Apparels claim that Kathiravel had attempted to report the harassment and intimidation she was suffering at work, but no action was taken. They also allege that gender-based violence at the factory was widespread...

[I]nternational labour rights groups the Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) and the Global Labor Justice-International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ-ILRF) claim that H&M’s apparent failure to police its own codes of conduct on gender-based violence or to ensure that there was a “responsible process” after Kathiravel’s murder had put the family and other women working in its supply chain at risk...

The groups also accuse H&M of failing to adequately intervene to stop the alleged intimidation of Kathiravel’s bereaved family by Eastman Exports managers in the weeks after her death...