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23 Aug 2017

Stop Child Labour, India Committee of the Netherlands, Kerk in Actie

India: Report finds modern slavery, child labour & unsafe work at granite quarries - What should companies do?

"The Dark Sites of Granite: Modern slavery, child labour and unsafe work in Indian granite quarries - What should companies do?," 23 August 2017 

New research...reveals that modern slavery, low wages, unsafe and unhealthy working conditions are rampant in granite quarries in South India. In some quarries, especially in waste stone processing, child labour is found. There is an enormous gap in working conditions between permanent workers (mainly supervisors) and casual workers (70% of the workforce). The first group receives safety equipment, insurance and an employment contract, while the casual labourers doing the dangerous manual work, lack those fundamental labour rights.

The research shows that granite sourced from the investigated quarries is imported by 33 natural stone companies and 3 banks from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Spain, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and the USA. China is also a major importer, processor and re-exporter of Indian granite for the international market. Only a few companies are member of a sustainability initiative aiming to improve working conditions in the natural stone sector, but these initiatives still hardly tackle the deplorable working conditions in granite quarries. The draft report was sent to all 36 companies and banks, but only 5 [companies and 1 bank reacted: Arte, Beltrami, Jetstone BV, Michel Oprey & Beisterveld Natuursteen BV (MO&B), Kerasom Groothandel In Tegels BV, and Royal Bank of Scotland]...

The report is offering recommendations to companies, sustainability initiatives, the Indian government and the European Union and its member states. Human rights due diligence by granite companies is needed to systematically eradicate rights violations, increase transparency, conduct risk assessments and implement improvement plans. The Indian government has to enforce existing labour laws and European member states should strengthen their public procurement policy (e.g. for granite). [also refers to: Allied Irish Banks, Antolini Luigi &C., Arte, Beltrami, Blyth Marble Ltd, Cereser Marmi SPA, Cosentino S.A., Dalle Nogare geom. Sergio Srl, Daltile Corporation, Deisl Stein, Edwards Slate & Stone, General Stone Trading Ltd, Grantech Ltd, HABU Granit-Marmor, HSBC Bank Plc., Hullebusch NV, Jetstone BV, Just Naturstein, Kerasom Groothandel in Tegels BV, KG, KSG UK Ltd, Levantina, Magna Naturstein GmbH / Magna Westfalia GmbH, Marimar Srl, Marmi Bruno Zanet Srl, Michel Oprey & Beisterveld, Mistermarble, M. Lampe Natursteine, M S International Inc., Naturstein Risse GmbH, Natursteinbetrieb Schulte GmbH & Co., Nile Trading, Royal Bank of Scotland Plc., Tiger Stone Srl, Worldwide Rocks Inc., Worldwide Stone Inc.]