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7 Oct 2014

Center for Research on Multinational Enterprises (SOMO)

India: SOMO report on the abuse of women workers in textile mills that supply big garment brands

"Flawed Fabrics: The abuse of girls and women workers in the South Indian textile industry", October 2014

This report highlights serious labour rights and human rights violations faced by girls and young women employed in the Tamil Nadu spinning industry in South India, which is a major hub in the global knitwear sector, supplying some of the big name clothing brands – including C&A, HanesBrands, Mothercare and Primark. ...This research found girls and young women to be working at the five mills in conditions amounting to forced labour.

Child labour

...60 per cent were below the age of 18 when they joined the mill.

Limited freedom of movement

...Staying in the factory hostel is mandatory for workers who come from other districts or villages....

Long hours of work and demanding working environment

...[E]mployees must work for 60 hours a week or more, all year round. Overtime cannot be refused. Night shifts are equally obligatory....

No contracts

...Workers do not know what they are signing up to, if they get to sign anything at all. Workers do not get payslips....

Lump sum payments

...[M]ills recruit workers with the promise of paying them a lump sum amount at the end of their contract....

Right of association

...[F]reedom of association is...a dead letter for the women workers....

Lack of transparency

Buyers hardly provide any information about where they are sourcing from.

*Sourced by RepRisk due diligence on ESG and business conduct risks, www.reprisk.com.