UK: Primark cuts three suppliers following child labour claims A News item from Business Respect, Issue Number 130, dated 17 Jun 2008 UK clothing retailer Primark has ended its contracts with three suppliers in India following allegations channelled through a BBC documentary that they used child labour to finish garments with embroidery and sequin work. The company said that the work had been improperly sub-contracted against the company's code of conduct, and it had taken action accordingly. It said that the clothes affected accounted for around 0.04% of its product sourcing.
Primark's code completely forbids the use of child labour in its supply chain, whether directly by immediate suppliers or further down through sub-contractors, and has said that it is one area where it will take immediate action to terminate relations with suppliers if they are found guilty of substantive breaches and are unwilling to make quick changes.
One of the suppliers in question attacked the move, saying that the BBC coverage had painted a distorted picture, and would now damage livelihoods through the cancellation of orders. A Sakthivel, president of Tirupur Exporters Association, told Newindpress.com that a local NGO had dramatised the story for its own purposes. He said that the light hand-work had been given to a Sri Lankan refugee family at a camp in Bhavani to augment their income.
UK: Primark pulls from PR Week event following protest threats A News item from Business Respect, Issue Number 141, dated 21 Nov 2008 Strategy decision Fashion retailer Primark has pulled a presentation it was due to make at a PR Week conference following news that campaigners were targeting the event for anti-Primark protests. The company had been intended to highlight how it had survived bad publicity when TV broadcasters highlighted child labour in its supply chain. Campaigners 'Labour Behind the Label' and 'Blood Sweat and T-Shirts' celebrated the move, saying that they had changed the company's message from one of 'we won' to one of 'we're on the run'.
The TV programmes had shown children sewing sequins onto garments which were subsequently identified in Primark stores. The company created some controversy when it immediately delisted the suppliers concerned.
A recent poll of British shoppers suggested that the company was now regarded by those who cared as the least ethical big name retailer on the high street. However, changing behaviour in the face of economic recession has favoured heavy discounters such as Primark, and suggests that at the moment rather fewer care about the revelations of child labour than UK: Primark hit with new accusations on supply chain
A News item from Business Respect, Issue Number 145, dated 12 Jan 2009 Low cost retailer Primark has said it is investigating claims that one of its UK suppliers, TNS Knitwear, has been employing illegal immigrants from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan and paying workers well below the legal minimum wage for 12 hour days, seven days a week. The supplier, which provides tens of thousands of garments to Primark per week, would face fines of up to 10,000 UK pounds for each illegal worker if the breaches were proved. The company denies the allegations.
Primark was previously the target of allegations that its foreign supply chain contained child labour. The company responded by breaking relations with several suppliers - a move which was criticised by some campaigners. Bangladesh: Primark and other UK retailers accused of suppliers paying 'starvation wages' Remedy
A News item from Business Respect, Issue Number 142, dated 6 Dec 2008 Primark, the cut price retailers recently voted as the 'least ethical high street retailer' was under fire again with protests around its AGM making claims of supplier's workers being paid as little as 7 UK pence per hour and denied union representation. Campaign group War on Want said that it had carried out a survey of 115 workers from six...
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