H&M Bans Textile Factory in India for Alleged 'Appalling' Conditions
Following a report that a spinning mill in southern India uses child labor and subjects workers—mainly young women—to "appalling" conditions, H&M has banned suppliers from using its products.
The company, Super Spinning Mills Ltd., was "unwilling to cooperate with H&M in a transparent way," an H&M spokesperson told Bloomberg. A Banglideshi supplier has used the company's yarn, but H&M does not have a direct business agreement with Super Spinning Mills.
The report, "Flawed Fabrics," from the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) and India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) indicates the mill has "appalling labour conditions that amount to forced labour." The report is based on 150 worker interviews as well as an analysis of company data and information.
Aside from Super Spinning Mills, which produces 62 tons of 100 percent combed cotton yarn each day, four other mills based in the textile hub of Tamil Nadu, India were deemed to have the harsh conditions, including Best Cotton Mills, Jeyavishnu Spintex, Premier Mills and Sulochana Cotton Spinning Mills. Other brands that have ties to the mill include C&A, Mothercare, HanesBrands, Sainsbury's and Primark, the report said.
About 1,600 mills in Tamil Nadu employ more than 400,000 workers—60 percent age 20 or younger at the start of employment. Women and girls as young as 15 are recruited from impoverished rural areas and forced to work long hours for low wages, according to the report. Up to 35 workers reside in each company-run hostel, and employees are usually not permitted to leave the compound.
"Recruiters convince parents in impoverished rural areas to send their daughters to the spinning mills with promises of a well-paid job, comfortable accommodation, three nutritious meals a day and opportunities for training and schooling, as well as a lump sum payment at the end of three years," according to the report. "However, when the girls arrive at the mills, it turns out that the reality of their new working life is not so attractive."