Lidl supplier caught in BBC sting
Undercover reporter finds forced labour and falsified documents
An undercover investigation by the BBC's Panorama program has revealed that a factory supplying clothes to supermarket chain Lidl was using forced labour.
According to a report on the BBC website, workers were locked into the factory for the final hours of a 19 hour shift.
The Ha Meem Sportswear manufacturer was found to be carrying out the practice after a BBC journalist Richard Bilton camped outside the factory. He filmed security guards locking workers inside the factory, which had suffered a fire just weeks earlier, trapping them inside.
The journalist later interviewed a worker who said that this happened regularly.
He told the BBC: "My feelings are bad and my health is too. In the last two weeks, approximately, it has been like this for eight nights." He earned just £2 for the shift.
Bilton then posed as a Western buyer and asked the factory management about their overtime and working hours policies. He was shown false time sheets and given misleading information.
Kalpona Akter, from the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, told the BBC that,
"The factory owners, they keep two different books. So one they show to the buyers, the other they show to the worker. These retailers' so-called audits really don't work."
Bilton comments that “Codes of conduct demanded by Western retailers to improve conditions are worthless if double books mean there's no way of monitoring worker hours.”
Lidl said our findings were "concerning" and showed how important it was to improve conditions in Bangladesh.
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