Friday, 19 August 2011

Zara accused of using 'slave labour' in Brazil

BRAZIL/Sao Paulo (Agencies/Reuters) Zara, the Spanish fashion chain owned by the world's largest clothing retailer Inditex SA, is under investigation by Brazil's labor ministry after a supplier was accused of slave labor, according to a local seamstress union. Government investigators raided four Sao Paulo sweatshops in late June, union officials told Reuters. All the garments discovered in the investigation were labeled with the Zara brand. "Before then, we had never received accusations" against Zara, said Maria Susiclea Assis, who heads the union. The workers in the shops were from Boliva and Peru, she added. Inditex, run until last month by 75-year-old founder Amancio Ortega, Spain's richest man, said in a statement sent from Sao Paulo that the case involved "unauthorized outsourcing" by a Brazilian supplier for the company, which did not provide the name of the supplier.>>>
The investigation comes as the Brazilian government cracks down on slave labor in the logging, charcoal and sugar cane industries. Labor ministry representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Earlier this year, hundreds of workers fainted at Cambodian textile factories due to sweltering heat, long shifts and chemical exposure, putting major retailers H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB , Marks & Spencer Group Plc and Inditex in the spotlight and their suppliers under investigation.

Inditex confirmed an investigation discovered 16 unregistered workers in violation of the company's code of conduct, adding that the ministry is regularizing the workers' situation.

Inditex will make sure their working conditions comply with company standards.

"The supplier was entirely responsible for the financial compensation of the workers, as established in Brazilian law and Inditex's code of conduct," the company statement said.

No comments: