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Bangladesh: Factory forced to compensate female worker after beating & threatening her, linked to British & Belgian brands

Author: Simon Murphy, The Guardian, Published on: 22 January 2019

"Factory that supplied Tesco compensated abused worker", 22 January 2019

A Bangladeshi factory that produces clothes for Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Mothercare was forced to compensate an “outspoken” female worker... [who] claimed to have been “severely beaten up” by security guards and the HR and compliance management at the factory, which is used by the brand Stanley/Stella. She said she was robbed of her severance pay and told that if she protested she would be “killed and her body put in a cardboard box”...

The report in which the incident is detailed does not name the factory, but Stanley/Stella confirmed that it occurred at Dird Composite Textiles, its largest supplier. The factory was also used by M&S until October last year.

The worker, who sat on the factory’s anti-harassment committee, was among 20 employees sacked last year after being accused of attacking factory management in an earlier incident, it is claimed... After denying the allegations, the factory eventually “reconsidered because of the potential risks of the complaint to … [its] business and reputation”. The factory provided a resignation letter of the HR manager. The woman was paid her “legal dues” and was said to be “satisfied”.

...Stanley/Stella’s sustainability manager, said: “I understand you want to stress that some violence happens in factories producing for Stanley/Stella... This is a fact. It happened (we would have preferred not). “...we reacted and solved the issue, fairly and respectfully. Together with factory top management and FWF representatives, after deep investigation, we got the full transparency about the real facts and took the only possible solution: fire the HR manager and give the legal compensation to the victim.”

...Dird Group’s managing director, said: “Dird Composite Textiles Ltd (DCTL) operates with the highest regard for ethical and moral standards. In 2009 we were awarded best worker-friendly factory in Bangladesh.” He said the company has... a zero tolerance policy on physical and verbal abuse...

A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said: “All our suppliers have to meet our code of conduct for ethical trade and are regularly required to show compliance... We are extremely concerned by these allegations and urgently investigating.”

An M&S spokeswoman said: “We were aware of the situation in June and closely followed the reports of the police, the factory and Better Work. Our last shipment with Dird was in October 2018 and we are no longer working this this supplier.”

Tesco said it was not aware of the incident and was investigating. Mothercare said it took staff welfare very seriously, worked “in close dialogue” with all factories and would be “reviewing the information”...

 

Read the full post here

Related companies: Marks & Spencer Mothercare Sainsbury's Stanley/Stella Tesco