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Campaigners slam Primark's decision on factories

Labour Behind the Label, the workers rights group, has slammed Primark for its decision to axe three of its suppliers in South India for sub-contracting some work out to children and breaching its ethical code.

Labour Behind the Label said Primark’s decision yesterday was a “knee-jerk cut and run” move to sever contracts with the three Indian suppliers who will be featured in a forthcoming Panorama documentary.

Yesterday Primark said that following information passed to it by the BBC it had severed ties with three of its Southern Indian suppliers which it said had sub-contracted work without Primark’s knowledge. Some of the work was sub-contracted to home workers and in some instances children were found to be working at home.

Labour Behind the Label’s campaign co-ordinator, Martin Hearson said where workers’ rights abuses were uncovered it was good practice for retailers to stay with the factories and work with them to improve conditions. He said: “This reaction from Primark smacks of old school reputation management and falls far short of the response we would expect to see from a company that claims to be committed to ethical trading.”

Hearson added: “Cutting and running from suppliers following exposure by campaigners or the media only serves to punish those workers brave enough to speak out about their conditions. It certainly won’t do anything to improve their lives.”

“Primark also needs to take a long hard look at the way it buys from suppliers. Illegal sub-contracting is often a result of the pressure to produce large amounts of clothes quickly and cheaply, a key component of Primark’s business model,” Hearson added.

Labour Behind the Label said that in its view, home working in itself was not a violation of ethical trading standards. The group said that it was extremely widespread and played an important role in garment supply chains and in local and national economies.

To read the full details about Primark dropping three of its Indian suppliers click here.

Readers' comments (3)

  • If we keep buying, they keep supplying ? We are all responsible for the prices of these garments when we think we have a bargain.
    Everyone who shops at any discount store even once has to take some responsibility for the low prices paid to workers.

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  • The point is that atleast these children are earning their living -if you want to punish the suppliers then punish them by saying that they will have to give them some late evening schooling to the children who work in thier factories.These children are making their living and atleast they are not stealing or begging.

    How can you punish someone who wants to live with self respect and donot want to be dependent on goverment grants.

    Let them live Respectfully.Arrange Rights to study but not by taking away their right to earn food themselves.

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  • We should wake up to this one - these children earn money to help to support the family.
    I have lived and worked in India and have seen first hand what happens when factories are forced to remove children.
    The children end up on the streets begging - how can that be an improvement?? They can't even afford the basics of rice and vegetables.
    Who are we to judge the way of life of other continents.
    Lets stop playing god!!

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