Gap and Old Navy in Bangladesh
Cheating some of the hardest working, yet poorest workers in the world
Today, the Institute is releasing an explosive new report, “Gap and Old Navy in Bangladesh: Cheating the Poorest Workers in the World” Within a matter of hours, the Wall Street Journal will release a major article also focusing on the Next Collections sweatshop.
Gap’s monitoring efforts have failed miserably. Each year, Gap and Next Collections factory management have cheated the workers of hundreds of thousands of dollars owed them. Gap must make these workers whole again-by paying every single cent the workers are owed, and additional compensation for the illegal and miserable working conditions.
At this point, Gap does not have the credibility to even be part of the weak “Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.”
The 3,750-worker Next Collections factory in Ashulia, Bangladesh on the outskirts of Dhaka is part of the Ha-Meem Group, Bangladesh’s second largest garment exporter which owns 26 factories and employs over 30,000 workers.
At the Next Collections sweatshop, approximately 70 percent of production is for Gap and Old Navy. Gap is the largest specialty apparel chain in the U.S.
Next Collections workers are forced to toil 14- to 17-plus-hour shifts, seven days a week, routinely putting in workweeks of over 100 hours. Workers are visibly sick and exhausted from the grueling and excessive hours.
Workers live in poverty, earning just 20 to 24 cents per hour.
Physical punishment and illegal firings are the norm.
Pregnant women are illegally terminated and denied their legal paid maternity leave. Three brave young women have decided to speak publicly:
─ Taniya Begum: “Despite the fact that I am pregnant, I still have to regularly work until 10:00 or 11:00 p.m….and all overtime is mandatory, even for pregnant women. …The big boss, Mr. Liton said, ‘It is the decision of the company that you will have to resign and leave the factory forever. The factory will not approve your maternity leave.'”
─ Morium Begum lost her baby when she was seven months pregnant, after working 200 hours overtime in the previous month: “That was my first baby that I lost. The grueling hours, constant strain and pressure to reach excessive production goals all led to the death of my baby. For me it is a loss I will never get over.”
─ Zesmin Khatun: “This made my line chief and production manager angry, and they tried to force me to quit the factory for ‘health reasons’ ── for being pregnant, the bosses had no sympathy for being pregnant.”
For the last two-and-a-half years, Gap has been complicit with Next Collections/Ha-Meem Group in a scam to defraud the workers of their legal wages and benefits.
─ Management hands out phony pay slips to pretend that Gap is in compliance with legal hours and wages.
─ Workers are paid in cash, off the books and cheated of 15 percent of their grueling overtime hours. At Next Collections alone, workers are being robbed of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and millions if one includes all the factories of the Ha-Meem Group.
Workers live in miserable poverty in tiny primitive hovels. By the third week in a month, most have no money left for food.
Read: New Institute report released today: Gap and Old Navy in Bangladesh
Please help: Write Gap now!
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