Retailers face worker abuse claims

16-07-2007

Retailers face worker abuse claims
Three of Britain's biggest retailers face allegations that workers in their suppliers' factories overseas are being treated unfairly.

The Guardian newspaper reports that who make clothes for Tesco, Asda and Primark are paid as little as four pence an hour and are made to work for up to 80 hours a week.

Following the allegations Asda has launched an investigation into its suppliers' factories in Bangladesh, while Tesco said it has recently completed a surprise audit of its factories in the country.

Primark has agreed a programme of remediation to improve any factories that do not meet working standards.

But War on Want campaigns director John Hilary told BBC Radio Five Live that British retailers saying they were powerless on the issue were "passing the buck".

"It's actually the practices of the supermarkets at this end which is driving down the wages, the terms and conditions and other things for the workers themselves," he stressed.

"It's not just a question of them signing up to a price which they're offered. Actually the supermarkets at this end have incredible power in the markets.

"They're the ones with all the buying power and they can dictate to their suppliers what terms and conditions they're going to be produced under," he explained.


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