International clothing chains C&A and H&M have part of their collection manufactured at an Indian factory where workers are being exploited, reports de Volkskrant.
The Dutch newspaper visited the KPR Mill near the textile manufacturing city Coimbatore together with representatives of the SOMO foundation (Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations). KPR Mill, which employs around 9000 workers, produces men’s sweaters for C&A and polo shirts and children’s leggings for H&M.
Workers at the factory are not allowed to leave the walled site after work and are put up in hostels. Wages are not paid out until they have worked for KPR Mill for at least three years and at least a quarter of their salaries are withheld to save for dowries. The workers do not have employment contracts and are forbidden to have any contact with labour unions. The factory reportedly does not employ child labour, KPR Mill says all its workers are 16 or over.
Both clothes chains have confirmed that they buy clothing from the controversial factory. C&A says it will terminate its business with the factory as soon as possible. H&M says it received reports on sub-standard working conditions in the past, but found no problems during a visit to KPR Mill. The chain says it will carry out another inspection and will later decide on further collaboration.
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