A new report by the Workers’ Rights’ Consortium claimed on June 20 that Shahi Export in Bangalore, India, viciously attacked workers in April this year. Attacks included physical beatings and death threats. It believes that managers and supervisors of the factory:
- Called a male worker (whose mother also works at the factory) a “son of a whore,” threatened to send thugs to kill his family, and then led and directed his beating;
- Told a female worker, “It won’t be a sin if people kill you and get rid of you[;] [y]ou should be shot and disposed of,” and then directed other workers to “kill her,” leading to her being beaten, nearly strangled, and hospitalized overnight.
- Stated about another female worker, “These whores are trying to close the factory. Beat her and kill her,” before this worker was also beaten, had her clothes torn, and was robbed.
- Told a male worker, “Your caste is only fit to clean bathrooms. How dare you ask for an increase in wages?” before leading other employees in beating and robbing him.
- Said of another female worker before she was beaten, “Her caste is meant to burn dead people and that is what she should be doing. Beat her and throw her out.”
Shahi supply Columbia Sportswear, Abercrombie & Fitch, Benetton and H&M at the Bangalore factory, and American Eagle, C&A, Children’s Place, Gap, Inditex (Zara), Marks & Spencer, Primark, Puma, PVH, Tesco, Uniqlo, VF and Walmart elsewhere in India.
A representative for H&M said on June 25 “We have an ongoing dialogue with the legal worker representatives which are supported by IndustriALL Global Union, as well as the supplier. We can assure you that we are extensively using our leverage.”
Colombia said in a statement “We have insisted that Shahi management take immediate action to address the situation, including: reinstate suspended workers, pay medical expenses of workers, return any personal property of workers, engage in constructive and meaningful engagement with the union, and discipline any employees that are found to have engaged in violence or acts of discrimination.”
There appears to have been no reaction from A&F or Benetton.
Shahi claims “Our People make the difference. We believe in corporate leadership, the success is responsibility with freedom to work is transferred to every individual with a collective teamwork”. It has manufacturing facilities in Delhi, Bangalore, Tirupur and Salem, and a womenswear division in Bangladesh.