British retailer rejects Indian clothes made by child labourers

June 17th, 2008 - 12:55 pm ICT by IANS  

By Venkata Vemuri
London, June 17 (IANS) Britain’s leading clothes retailer Primark has cancelled the contracts of three suppliers in India’s Tamil Nadu state for using child labour and has also withdrawn the garments from its shelves. The retailer took the step after being alerted to the use of child labour by a BBC Panorama programme. The yet to be aired programme looks at the supply chain processes of Primark.

The charge against the suppliers, based in Tirupur in Tamil Nadu, is that they have sub-contracted embroidery work to home workers, some of whom were children, according to The Telegraph.

“Primark is an ethical business that demands the highest standards from its suppliers. It has a strict Supplier Code of Conduct which expressly bans the use of child labour. In addition none of our suppliers is permitted to sub-contract without our specific consent and agreement. Primark does not tolerate serious breaches of its fundamental principles,” the group said.

The retailer, which is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative, is now taking steps to ensure against such practices in future trade with Indian suppliers. It is calling a meeting of the suppliers to emphasise against unauthorised sub-contracting. It will also appoint an India-based NGO as its partner to be its “ears and eyes” at the ground level.

Primark does clothing business worth 700 million pounds from India each year.

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