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Forced Labour in the Textile and Garment Sector in Tamil Nadu, South India: Strategies for Redress

Author: Annie Delaney, RMIT University & Tim Connor, University of Newcastle, Published on: 2 December 2016

November 2016

This case study examines the grievances of young women, predominantly Dalit, who are recruited from remote villages to work in…garment factories…in South India. Companies sourcing in this industry from Tamil Nadu include…Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury, Asda/Walmart, Tesco, Mothercare, Zara, Primark, C&A and H&M…Women work under…forced labour conditions, have low pay and poor conditions...Existing power imbalances have the effect of making the women more vulnerable due to their poverty, gender and caste…A number of initiatives have been taken by local and international NGOs…These actions have been effective in…shifting judicial and government responses to be more responsive to…labour rights challenges... The various claim-making strategies…have had limited impact on improving conditions for these workers…The unwillingness of global companies (from the UK and other countries) to offer their suppliers genuine incentives to cooperate in human rights initiatives (as opposed to threats to cut orders), significantly limits the effectiveness of voluntary non-judicial redress mechanisms, including the ETI.

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Related companies: ASDA (part of Walmart) Associated British Foods C&A H&M Inditex Marks & Spencer Mothercare Primark (part of Associated British Foods) Sainsbury's Tesco Walmart Zara (part of Inditex)