Thai factory used by Tesco faces criminal charges over treatment of workers

Exclusive: VKG, where workers made jeans for Tesco’s Thai branch between 2017 and 2020, faces charges including fraud

Thai police have brought criminal charges against a clothing factory that was used by Tesco to make F&F clothes, over its treatment of workers.

The Guardian revealed in December that Burmese workers who produced F&F jeans for Tesco in Thailand reported being made to work 99-hour weeks for illegally low pay in terrible conditions.

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Thai police accused of ‘sham’ inquiry into alleged forced labour at former Tesco supplier

Exclusive: Burmese workers say officials took one day to conclude no laws were broken at VK Garment factory

Thai police have been accused of conducting a “sham” investigation into potential forced labour at a garment factory formerly used by Tesco after officials took one day to conclude no laws were broken.

The Guardian revealed last month that Burmese workers who produced F&F jeans for Tesco in Thailand reported being made to work 99-hour weeks for illegally low pay in terrible conditions.

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Thai police raid former Tesco clothing supplier at centre of sweatshop claims

VK Garment factory in Mae Sot is subject of a UK lawsuit against the supermarket from 130 ex-workers

Thai police have raided a clothing factory previously used by Tesco that is the subject of a UK lawsuit over alleged sweatshop conditions.

The Guardian revealed earlier this week that Burmese workers who produced F&F jeans for Tesco in Thailand reported being trapped in, in effect, forced labour, working 99-hour weeks for illegally low pay in appalling conditions.

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Girl, 7, raped at Thai factory supplying clothes for Tesco while mother worked

Exclusive: Woman recounts 2018 attack as landmark lawsuit is brought against retailer on behalf of 130 Burmese former workers

A seven-year-old girl was raped in insecure accommodation at a factory producing clothes for Tesco in Thailand while her mother sewed F&F jeans late in the evening, it has been revealed.

Her mother said she had been working unpaid overtime until 10pm, after which she returned to her room to find her daughter bleeding and in distress, having been raped by a colleague.

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How big brands like Tesco are drawn to ‘wild west of global supply chain’

In the Thai city of Mae Sot, where wages and labour conditions are substandard, factories can keep costs low

Hundreds of factories surround the border city of Mae Sot in the far west of Thailand. It is so close to Myanmar that at times the bombs of the civil war can be heard from its centre.

Almost all the garment factories here rely on the flow of cheap Burmese labour fleeing war and economic hardship. Their hard work, willingness to accept pay well below the Thai minimum wage and a lack of legal rights make them an attractive prospect for factories trying to cut costs. And the sale price of what they produce on these tiny wages attracts big brands.

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What do you mean, day off?

Workers tell of sweatshop conditions at Thai factory used by Tesco, as supermarket says it knew nothing of claims about VKG

In a factory at the Myanmar border in Thailand, hundreds of Burmese workers made F&F jeans for Tesco. They describe sweatshop conditions, with 99-hour weeks, one day off a month and illegally low pay.

Now Tesco is facing a landmark British lawsuit for alleged negligence, having used the VK Garment (VKG) factory in Mae Sot as a supplier to its Thai business from 2017 until the supermarket sold its operations in Asia in December 2020. The case is being brought by 130 former garment workers at the factory.

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Pakistani garment workers left destitute and starving after Missguided collapse

Fashion retailer’s suppliers in Pakistan have sacked hundreds without pay, as invoices for completed orders remain unpaid

Hundreds of garment workers in Pakistan making clothing for collapsed fast fashion brand Missguided say they have been left destitute and starving after not receiving salaries for more than four months.

The workers, who typically earn between £100 and £160 a month, say that despite not being paid they have continued working even as the Manchester-based retailer went into administration, with suppliers claiming the company owes them millions of pounds for clothing already completed and shipped.

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Reliance Industries and Apollo Global Management in £5bn bid for Boots

Mukesh Ambani teams up with US private equity fund, with Walgreens expected to retain minority stake

The Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries has teamed up with the US private equity fund Apollo Global Management to make a £5bn bid for the UK’s Boots chain.

The US group Walgreens, which has controlled the pharmacy and beauty retailer since 2012, is expected to keep a minority stake under the deal.

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No contact required: Covid fuels vending machine revival in Japan

After decades of decline, jidō hanbaiki are back in fashion with public wary of human interaction

After a brief wait to the faint whirr of moving machinery parts, the tiny cardboard box that drops into the plastic-covered tray is reassuringly warm. Inside is a perfectly passable burger in a chewy white bun, topped with a blob of ketchup and diced fried onions.

No human interaction occurred in the making of this transaction. The Guardian’s alfresco lunch came courtesy of one of dozens of vending machines in Sagamihara, an unglamorous town near Tokyo.

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‘Worst fashion wage theft’: workers go hungry as Indian suppliers to top UK brands refuse to pay minimum wage

Shortfall of 16p a day leaves children living on just rice as suppliers to Nike, Zara and H&M in Karnataka underpay by estimated £41m

Garment workers making clothes for international brands in Karnataka, a major clothing production hub in India, say their children are going hungry as factories refuse to pay the legal minimum wage in what is claimed to be the biggest wage theft to ever hit the fashion industry.

More than 400,000 garment workers in Karnataka have not been paid the state’s legal minimum wage since April 2020, according to an international labour rights organisation that monitors working conditions in factories.

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‘Wage theft’ in Primark, Nike and H&M supply chain – report

No laws were broken but brands failed to ensure workers were paid properly during the pandemic, says Clean Clothes Campaign

Campaigners claim to have found evidence of “wage theft” in the supply chains of Primark, Nike and H&M in a report that outlines the devastating consequences of the pandemic on garment workers in Indonesia, Cambodia and Bangladesh.

Research by the Clean Clothes Campaign found that, while none of the brands had broken any laws, they had failed to ensure that their workers were properly paid throughout the pandemic.

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Revert to type: how Goa’s last typewriter repair shop defied the digital age

Luis Abreu once thrived on servicing India’s many typewriters but computers are eclipsing his trade

In Goa’s capital, Panaji, on Rua São Tomé, not far from the main post office, is a shop that offers packaging services. For a small fee, they will wrap your parcel in a sheet of muslin sewn with precise stitches to protect its contents from being damaged in the post.

It started as a sideline to the main business of the store, but now it is the main earner for Luis Francisco Miguel de Abreu as he struggles to maintain one of the last typewriter repair shops in this Indian state.

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Bangladesh clothing factory safety deal in danger, warn unions

Without extension of legally binding 2013 accord, life-saving changes still required in factories will not go ahead

The future of a landmark deal to improve safety at clothing factories in Bangladesh is in doubt, unions have said, in the run-up to the eighth anniversary of the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in which more than 1,100 garment workers died.

More than 200 brands, including Primark, Marks & Spencer and H&M, signed up to the Bangladesh accord on fire and building safety after the 2013 disaster at the factory in the outskirts of Dhaka. That deal, agreed with the international clothing workers’ unions UNI Global and IndustriALL, is due to expire next month.

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Primark supplier reportedly locks workers in factory to stop their anti-coup protest in Myanmar

Garment workers in Yangon say they were dismissed for breaking out to take part in civil disobedience movement

Garment workers in Myanmar who produce clothing for Primark were locked inside their factory by supervisors who tried to prevent them from joining anti-coup protests, testimonies given to the Guardian claim.

Workers employed by GY Sen, which supplies Primark, claimed to the Guardian that their supervisors had sought to prevent them from missing work to take part in protests in the main city Yangon on 18 February. Up to 1,000 workers were trapped inside, according to workers, who said they were able to break free after several hours.

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World’s garment workers face ruin as fashion brands refuse to pay $16bn

Analysis of trade figures reveals huge power imbalance as suppliers and workers in poorest parts of the world bear cost of Covid downturn

Powerful US and European fashion companies have refused to pay overseas suppliers for more than $16bn (£12.3bn) of goods since the outbreak of Covid-19, with devastating implications for garment workers across the world, according to analysis of newly released import data.

Two US-based groups, the Center for Global Workers’ Rights (CGWR) and the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), used previously unpublished import databases to calculate that garment factories and suppliers from across the world lost at least $16.2bn in revenue between April and June this year as brands cancelled orders or refused to pay for clothing orders they had placed before the coronavirus outbreak.

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