Wal-Mart accused of workers rights violations

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A class-action suit has been filed with the Superior court of the state of California accusing Wal-Mart of failing to ensure their suppliers' employees work in acceptable conditions.

The suit, representing workers from six countries across four continents, conceals the identities of 17 workers from China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Swaziland and Nicaragua in addition to four Californians cited as also representing others from the state.

The complaint accuses Wal-Mart of failing to adequately police garment suppliers and ensure that workers are not kept in sweatshop conditions, and that this is in breach of their own Code of Conduct for foreign suppliers. Wal-Mart counters that they have an extensive programme to ensure suppliers adhere to their Code of Conduct; that 200 full-time inspectors are employed to check supplier factories, and 108 factories have been permanently banned as suppliers. However, this is mainly for child labor violations.

This is part of an ongoing campaign against Wal-Mart by the International Labor Rights Fund [1]; a labor rights group opposed to many of the business practices of Wal-Mart that they claim encourage unacceptable working conditions and salaries in developing countries.