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UK: Primark cuts three suppliers following child labour claims

Date: 17 Jun 2008

UK clothing retailer Primark has ended its contracts with three suppliers in India following allegations channelled through a BBC documentary that they used child labour to finish garments with embroidery and sequin work.

The company said that the work had been improperly sub-contracted against the company's code of conduct, and it had taken action accordingly. It said that the clothes affected accounted for around 0.04% of its product sourcing.

Primark's code completely forbids the use of child labour in its supply chain, whether directly by immediate suppliers or further down through sub-contractors, and has said that it is one area where it will take immediate action to terminate relations with suppliers if they are found guilty of substantive breaches and are unwilling to make quick changes.

One of the suppliers in question attacked the move, saying that the BBC coverage had painted a distorted picture, and would now damage livelihoods through the cancellation of orders. A Sakthivel, president of Tirupur Exporters Association, told that a local NGO had dramatised the story for its own purposes. He said that the light hand-work had been given to a Sri Lankan refugee family at a camp in Bhavani to augment their income.


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