h&m empowers asian workers with legal right to report harassment
As a young garment worker was murdered by her supervisor, H&M is now taking the onus of such mishaps at its manufacturing facilities. The incident happened in an Indian factory where H&M clothes are manufactured. A 20-year young worker was killed and the supervisor later confessed to his crime as well.
Natchi Apparel, the factory that makes clothes for H&M in Kaithian Kottai (Tamil Nadu) was the scene of crime. Taking onus of this, H&M has now signed a legally binding agreement to end sexual violence and harassment against women workers in its Indian facilities.
Apparently, the young worker had faced sexual harassment at work and could not raise her voice against it. According to the family, she was raped, and then murdered by the perpetrator. Gender based violence seems to have been common in the Natchi Apparel factory. This has been confirmed by a human rights group that filed a report after speaking to several women employees. Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) carried out the investigation. The issue has already reached the tables of the Tamil Nadu Textile and Common Labour Union (TTCU), as well as regional and international labour rights groups.
The company has taken an exceptional stand that now empowers women employees to report sexual harassment anonymously to an independent panel that will have the power to dismiss perpetrators and seek financial compensation for victims and their families. This makes this legal agreement only the second of its kind in the fashion industry. Also, it is for the first time a brand has ever signed up to an initiative to tackle gender-based violence in Asia’s garment industry, where a workforce of mostly poor women make millions of tons of clothing for UK high streets every year.