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21 Jan 2021

Asia Floor Wage Alliance & Tamil Nadu Textile and Common Labour Union

India: AFWA & TTCU publish case summary of murder of Jeyasre Kathiravel & gender-based violence at H&M supplier factory Natchi Apparels

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“Case Summary: Gender-based violence at H& Supplier Factory – Natchi Apparels, India”, 21 January 2021

Jeyasre Kathiravel, a 20-year-old Dalit garment worker at H&M supplier Natchi Apparels in Tamil Nadu, was found dead on 5th January, 2021. Thangadurai, her immediate supervisor at the same factory … has confessed to authorities that he raped and killed Jeyasre…

Seven women workers at Natchi Apparels have testified that Jeyasre was sexually harassed multiple times by the supervisor. They have stated that the supervisor had a history of sexually harassing women and that he is not the only supervisor or manager who has indulged in these actions. Women workers have pointed out that there are many instances of sexual harassment and violence in the factory - including namecalling, slut-shaming, bullying, beating, and assault … [M]any factors have contributed to the high incidence of gender-based violence in the factory – including the lack of a well-functioning grievance mechanism for responding to sexual harassment (Internal Complaints Committee), lack of CCTVs within the work spaces, and the skewed gender ratio between supervisors and workers - where more than 90% of supervisors are men while 90% of workers are women.

Another worker, on anonymity, pointed out how women workers are forced to accept sexual harassment as a “normal” condition in the workplace…

Workers also reported other issues in the factory including the non-payment of minimum wages for some categories of workers, forced unpaid overtime, high production targets and forced resignation of workers before the payment of yearly bonus…

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