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en/mauritius-closure-of-garment-factory-supplying-to-asos-john-lewis-leaves-migrant-bangladeshi-workers-unpaid-stranded-asos-outlines-remediation-efforts#c193204

ASOS' response

Author: ASOS, Published on: 13 August 2019

...Through our engagement with the liquidators and representatives of the Mauritius government we were able to ensure that the workers’ electricity and water supplies were reconnected at their accommodation and that workers are provided with an ongoing food allowance. These provisions were then verified by the local trade union...

...[W]e have discovered that 83 of the 151 workers affected are migrant workers from Bangladesh. ASOS recognises that migrant workers are particularly vulnerable... [T]hey can be at risk of debt bondage through unethical recruitment practices, subject to inferior employment terms and restrictive immigration policies, and also experience exploitation in the workplace. 

... [M]igrant workers' visas in Mauritius are tied to their employment, meaning they are not able to seek alternative employment (even in the case of insolvency) without government intervention. We have therefore been engaging daily with local government as a matter of urgency in order to redeploy these workers and have also investigated placing these workers with our other suppliers in Mauritius, although these efforts have as yet been unsuccessful. Of the 83 Bangladeshi workers, 14 currently wish to return home. We have been speaking to the government and understand that their repatriation is now underway. 19 further workers have been redeployed elsewhere on the island... We are... working with the liquidators and government to find employment for the remaining 50 migrant workers...

While the 68 Mauritian workers affected by this liquidation are more protected by local regulations, we nevertheless continue to have some concerns regarding the adequate and proper payment of severance pay under local law. We understand that the current precedent is for the Mauritius government to make these severance payments, and the liquidators are currently negotiating this issue with the government. We have asked the government to meet this responsibility and are continuing to monitor the situation and engage with those involved in order to ensure that workers’ rights and protections remain the utmost priority...

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This is a response from the following companies: ASOS