India is the world’s second-largest manufacturer and exporter of garments after China. India’s garment makers directly employ about 12.9 million people in factories and millions more outside, including their own homes, according to a 2019 report that investigated working conditions in the sector. The Indian women working at the garment factories all live in poverty in a rural area of South India. The charity Action Aid, which supports more than 1,200 female garment workers across 45 villages in this specific region, told the BBC that forced overtime, verbal abuse and poor working conditions were routine at the factories in question.
Indian factory workers supplying major brands allege routine exploitation
Indian workers in factories supplying the supermarket chains Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, and the fashion brand Ralph Lauren, told the BBC they are being subjected to exploitative conditions. Women working at a Ralph Lauren supplier said they had been forced to stay overnight to complete orders, sometimes requiring them to sleep on the factory floor. “We’re made to work continuously, often through the night, sleeping at 3 am then waking up by 5 am for another full day,” one woman said in an interview. “Our bosses don’t care. They’re only bothered about production,” she said. Read more here in this important BBC report: Indian factory workers supplying major brands allege routine exploitation