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Canadian Tire supplier factories paid poverty wages, groups allege

by News Desk
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Ottawa –

Canadian Tire Corporation failed to ensure that clothing workers at supplier factories in South Asia were paid a living wage, labor groups allege in a complaint filed with the Federal Business Oversight Agency.

The Canadian Labor Congress and the National Steelworkers Union filed a complaint with the Responsible Business Canada Ombudsperson on Tuesday, asking the office to investigate allegations of human rights violations in the retailer’s supply chain.

The complaint alleges that workers at garment factories in Bangladesh that supply Canadian Tire subsidiary Marks with garments sold under brand names such as Wind River, Denver Hayes, Dakota and Helly Hansen received “poverty-level wages.” claims to have been paid.

The complaint, addressed to ombudsperson Sherri Meyerhofer, said, “Mark’s failure to ensure that workers in his supply chain are paid a living wage is a violation of human rights.”

Canadian Tire said its suppliers are committed to complying with all local laws, including indemnification.

“As part of its efforts to ensure compliance, (Canadian Tire) regularly tracks wage rates and works with trusted third parties to audit the factories that produce its own branded products,” the company said. said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

The company’s suppliers may be paying slightly above Bangladesh’s legal minimum wage, but the average wage for garment workers is still less than $1 an hour, said the executive director of the Bangladesh Workers’ Solidarity Center. said Kalpona Actor.

Workers live in overcrowded housing and work 12-hour days, six days a week, yet struggle to afford food, she said.

“Many people face a constant struggle to provide for themselves and their families and to live a step away from extreme poverty,” Akhtar said at a press conference.

The average monthly wage for a garment worker is about $173, she said, which would have to be increased four to five times to pay the workers a living wage.

Marty Warren, Canada’s representative to the United Steelworkers’ Union, said Canadian Tire suppliers violated international human rights standards.

“Women and men employed in garment factories in Bangladesh, such as those used by Marks and Canadian Tire, live in poverty,” he told a news conference.

“Canadian Tire has the leverage and resources to ensure that rights are respected,” said Warren. “They need to be encouraged to take responsibility.”

The complaint alleges that the federal corporate watchdog “determines the extent of human rights abuses in Bangladesh’s readymade garment industry” and that the company “failed to ensure that workers in its supply chain were paid a living wage.” demanding.

Labor groups have asked the watchdog to recommend that Canadian Tire publicly commit to ensuring that all workers in its global clothing supply chain are paid a living wage.

Bangladesh is one of the world’s largest garment exporters.

Several Canadian apparel retailers, including Lululemon Athletica Inc. and Loblaw Companies. Ltd’s Joe Fresh clothing brand sources apparel from South Asian countries.

Lululemon launched an investigation in 2019 after reports of worker abuse were reported at a factory in Bangladesh, a sporting goods retailer.

In 2013, a factory collapsed in Bangladesh that killed more than 200 people, producing Joe Fresh branded clothes.

Loblaw said at the time that it has vendor standards to ensure products are manufactured “in a socially responsible manner.”

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on November 22, 2022.

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