India's sweat shop workers for top-end brands reveal rampant abuse and low wages hell

Last Updated: Sun, Nov 25, 2012 06:38 hrs

London: Workers making clothes that end up in biggest stores in the UK have complained to human rights tribunal about a shocking regime of abuse, threats and low pay against Indian factories they work in.

The workers said that physical and verbal abuse is rife, while female workers who failed to meet impossible targets said that they are berated, called 'dogs and donkeys', and told to 'go and die'.

They complained that their wages are so low that they would not be able to buy a single item they produce.

According to the Guardian, many workers who toil long hours in an attempt to support their families on poverty wages claimed they are even cheated out of their dues by their employers.

The allegations, which will be of concern to household names, including Gap, H and M, Next and Walmart, were made at a human rights tribunal in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru.

The 'national people's tribunal for living wages and decent working conditions for garment workers' was convened to investigate widespread human rights abuses in the garment industry.

Sakamma, a 42-year-old mother-of-two working for Gap supplier Texport in Bengaluru, told the tribunal she earned just 22p an hour and that when she finished at the factory she had to work as a domestic help to top up her wages, the report said.

Like many of the women giving evidence, she said workers faced abuse if they failed to meet quotas.

A spokesperson for Texport, however, denied setting unachievable targets and said abuse of workers was not tolerated.

Many workers at the tribunal claimed that long working hours and poor health and safety conditions made them ill.

One worker even said that a colleague was electrocuted by a bare wire last year in a factory supplying Gap. (ANI)