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Lidl lawsuit (re working conditions in Bangladesh)

Garment factory Bangladesh by Fahad Faisal (via Wikimedia Commons

Für die deutsche Beschreibung des Falles, klicken Sie hier.

On 6 April 2010, the Hamburg Consumer Protection Agency, supported by the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), filed a lawsuit in Heilbronn district court against the German discount retailer Lidl.  The complaint followed a Lidl advertising campaign which claimed that the company advocated for fair working conditions and contracted its non-food orders only from selected suppliers.  In this campaign, Lidl also claimed that it opposed child labour as well as human and labour rights violations in its supply chain.

Relying on research compiled by ECCHR and CCC, the Consumer Protection Agency alleged that the working conditions in Bangladeshi textile plants in Lidl’s supply chain did not comply with labour standards as set out by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and theBusiness Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) code of conduct.  Furthermore, it alleged that the companies in Lidl’s supply chain violated labour laws, including the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining and freedom from sex discrimination.  The Agency claimed that the Bangladeshi employees worked excessive overtime (more than 12 hours per week) with no overtime premium, were not entitled to a holiday after 6 consecutive working days and were subjected to harassment and to payroll deductions as a punitive measure.  Accordingly, the suit demanded that Lidl stop deceiving customers about fair working conditions in its supply-chain.

On 14 April 2010, Lidl agreed to withdraw the public claims and advertisements that its goods were being produced under fair and decent working conditions.  A consent decree was filed with the court to memorialise this agreement.  Additionally, Lidl is no longer permitted to refer to its membership in the BSCI in its advertising materials.

LIDL: Forced to Retract ‘Ethical’ claims, Labour Behind the Label, 14 Sep 2010
- [German] Lidl dreht bei (“Lidl turn about”), Hamburg Consumer Protection Agency, 10 Sep 2010
- [German] Menschenrechtler verklagen Lidl (“Human rights activists sue Lidl”), stern.de, 8 Apr 2010
- [German] Verbraucherzentrale Hamburg klagt gegen Lidl (“The Hamburg Consumer Protection Agency brings Lidl to court”), TextilWirtschaft, 8 Apr 2010

- Clean Clothes Campaign: Press Release - German Retailer Lidl Retracts False Claims of Fair Working Conditions, 30 Apr 2010
- Clean Clothes Campaign: [German] Die Schönfärberei der Discounter, Klage gegen Lidl’s irreführende Werbung(“Glossing over by the discount shop, claim against Lidl’s misleading advertising”), Gisela Burckhardt, Apr 2010
- European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights:Successful complaint against consumer deception - LIDL retracts advertisements
- European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights: [PDF] Swift legal victory in the complaint against Lidl

- [German] Unlautere Werbung: Lidl muss Werbung für "fair produzierte" Kleidung zurückziehen - Kleidung nicht unter fairen Arbeitsbedingungen hergestellt (“Lidl must withdraw advertisement for clothes “produced fairly” – Clothes were not manufactured under fair working conditions”), Hamburg Consumer Protection Agency – 21 O 42/10 – kostenlose-urteile.de, 21 Apr 2010
- [PDF] [German] Verbraucherzentrale Hamburg v. Lidl Dienstleistung GmbH & Co KG [complaint filed in the Heilbronn district court, Germany], 6 Apr 2010

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Lawsuit
18 February 2014

Lidl lawsuit (re working conditions in Bangladesh)

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

On 6 April 2010, the Hamburg Consumer Protection Agency, supported by the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), filed a lawsuit in Heilbronn district court against the German discount retailer Lidl. The complaint followed a Lidl advertising campaign which claimed that the company advocated for fair working conditions and contracted its non-food orders only from selected suppliers. In this campaign, Lidl also claimed that it opposed child labour as well as human and labour rights violations in its supply chain.

Relying on research compiled by ECCHR and CCC, the Consumer Protection Agency alleged that the working conditions in Bangladeshi textile plants in Lidl's supply chain did not comply with labour standards as set out by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI)code of conduct. Furthermore, it alleged that the companies in Lidl's supply chain violated labour laws, including the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining and freedom from sex discrimination. The Agency claimed that the Bangladeshi employees worked excessive overtime (more than 12 hours per week) with no overtime premium, were not entitled to a holiday after 6 consecutive working days and were subjected to harassment and to payroll deductions as a punitive measure. Accordingly, the suit demanded that Lidl stop deceiving customers about fair working conditions in its supply-chain.

On 14 April 2010, Lidl agreed to withdraw the public claims and advertisements that its goods were being produced under fair and decent working conditions.  A consent decree was filed with the court to memorialise this agreement.  Additionally, Lidl is no longer permitted to refer to its membership in the BSCI in its advertising materials.

- LIDL: Forced to Retract ‘Ethical’ claims, Labour Behind the Label, 14 Sep 2010
- [German] Lidl dreht bei (“Lidl turn about”), Hamburg Consumer Protection Agency, 10 Sep 2010
- [German] Menschenrechtler verklagen Lidl (“Human rights activists sue Lidl”), stern.de, 8 Apr 2010
- [German] Verbraucherzentrale Hamburg klagt gegen Lidl (“The Hamburg Consumer Protection Agency brings Lidl to court”), TextilWirtschaft, 8 Apr 2010

- Clean Clothes Campaign: Press Release - German Retailer Lidl Retracts False Claims of Fair Working Conditions, 30 Apr 2010
- Clean Clothes Campaign: [German] Die Schönfärberei der Discounter, Klage gegen Lidl’s irreführende Werbung (“Glossing over by the discount shop, claim against Lidl’s misleading advertising”), Gisela Burckhardt, Apr 2010
- European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights: Successful complaint against consumer deception - LIDL retracts advertisements
- European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights: [PDF] Swift legal victory in the complaint against Lidl

- [German] Unlautere Werbung: Lidl muss Werbung für "fair produzierte" Kleidung zurückziehen - Kleidung nicht unter fairen Arbeitsbedingungen hergestellt (“Lidl must withdraw advertisement for clothes “produced fairly” – Clothes were not manufactured under fair working conditions”), Hamburg Consumer Protection Agency – 21 O 42/10 – kostenlose-urteile.de, 21 Apr 2010
- [PDF] [German] Verbraucherzentrale Hamburg v. Lidl Dienstleistung GmbH & Co KG [complaint filed in the Heilbronn district court, Germany], 6 Apr 2010

Article
26 April 2010

Lidl Retracts Advertisements [Germany]

Author: European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)

The complaint filed on 6 April 2010 by the Hamburg Customer Protection Agency against Lidl due to unfair competition resulted in a swift victory…Lidl formally agreed to cease proclaiming worldwide fair working conditions in its advertisements. The complaint was supported by the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)…"Lidl must retract their advertisements…" stated Günter Hörmann, the Director of the Customer Protection Agency in Hamburg…"The case demonstrates that it is risky for a corporation to put on a social guise..." said Gisela Burckhardt from the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC)…"We hold that Lidl is legally accountable for their promises of fair working conditions…" criticized Miriam Saage-Maaß (ECCHR).

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Article
19 April 2010

Consumer Complaint Demands Fair Working Conditions [Germany]

Author: European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)

On 6 April 2010, on the initiative of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), the Hamburg Consumer Protection Agency filed charges of unfair competition against the German discount retailer Lidl. The complaint…demands that Lidl stop deceiving its customers about working conditions in its Bangladeshi textile suppliers. Lidl is a member of the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), an international retailers' initiative that aims to improve working conditions along the supply chain…a study commissioned by ECCHR and the CCC has shown that labor rights in Lidl's suppliers are being disregarded in various ways, despite the fact that those managing supplier firms have undertaken social training.

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Article
13 April 2010

The Rupp Report: Ethics In Garment Production

Author: Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

...The German retail chain Lidl has come under pressure after NGOs published reports that some of Lidl's contractors are not working in accordance with their customer's commitment...European Center for Constitutional and Humans Rights (ECCHR) and the Clean Clothes Campaign network examined several Lidl subcontractors in Bangladesh. The results are alarming: The employees, predominantly women, complain that they must do overtime regularly, and this overtime often is not paid...The German retailer responded that since 2006, Lidl itself has checked the working conditions of the subcontractors through 7,500 examinations and 28,000 further examinations by external testing institutes. However, the result was that "some necessary improvement measures in the areas of the wages and the worker's security should be made,"...

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