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Indian textile workers exploited by C&A and H&M

Workers at KPR Mill are not permitted to leave the factory site and at least a quarter of their wages is only paid out after three years.

Ana van Es - de Volkskrant Sep 03, 2010

COIMBATORE/AMSTERDAM The fashion chain stores C&A and H&M have commissioned the manufacture of part of their collection from a textile factory in India which exploits girls and women.. Clothing is made in the factory in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu bearing the logos of the two companies.

This is the conclusion of a study by De Volkskrant, which visited the factory together with development organisation SOMO. The business in question is KPR Mill, located near to the textile city of Coimbatore, which makes men's sweaters for C&A and polo shirts and children's leggings for H&M.

The approximately 9000 textile workers of KPR Mill - according to the board of directors, all at least 16 years of age - are effectively locked up after working hours in hostels on the walled-in factory site. At least one quarter of their wages are deducted to save for a dowry. This money is only paid out once they have worked for the company for three years. KPR does not provide any employment contract, and prevents contact with trade unions.

H&M has confirmed that clothing was produced in this factory in 2009 and in August 2010. The cooperation was initially stopped in 2009 due to the poor working conditions. When the Swedish company visited the factory again this spring, it did not uncover any problems. Confronted with the findings of De Volkskrant, H&M decided to visit the factory again as quickly as possible, and to review the production.

In a response, C&A acknowledged that KPR recently started supplying the group. The fashion chain says that it assumed that it was doing business with a different company, Quantum Knits. This is a full subsidiary of KPR, as is also stated in the annual report. "This only became clear to C&A recently," says a spokesperson. "Production in the vicinity of KPR is not in line with the conditions of C&A." According to the chain, the cooperation will be stopped as quickly as possible.

Saturday in De Volkskrant: A report about working conditions at KPR Mill.


Source: de Volkskrant



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