Corporate Audits Are Designed To Fail

August, 06 2011 Share

Campaign: Classic/Jordan-Sweatshop Abuse, Sexual Predators



What is it that Wal-Mart, Target, Hanes, Macy's and the other corporations cannot understand about the sexual abuse of young women at the Classic sweatshop in Jordan?


Workers Strike to End Sexual Abuse at Classic

The sexual abuse and rape of young women guest workers at the Classibc sweatshop in Jordan was so out of control that 2,400 Sri Lankan and Indian workers went out on strike in October 2010 demanding the removal of the worst serial rapist, Anil Santha, from the factory.  The Jordanian police fired teargas at the striking workers, who still held their ground.  For a time, it seemed that the workers had succeeded in kicking Anil Santha out of the factory!  However, in a matter of weeks, Classic's corrupt owner, Sanal Kumar, had rehired his friend Anil Santha, Anil returned, and the rapes continued.

Corporate Honesty at Work

When Wal-Mart and Hanes were first questioned about the allegations of sexual abuse at the Classic sweatshop, both corporations said they had never heard of such allegations.  However, just a few hours later, both giant corporations reversed themselves, admitting that they were indeed aware of allegations of sexual abuse at Classic dating back at least three or four years!


Corporate Monitoring Never Works

You do not have to take our word for it.

It is an open secret that corporate monitoring does not work.  Mr. John Ruggie, the special representative to the United Nations Secretary General for human rights and transnational corporations told Women's Wear Daily (June 4, 2009) that, "Just about everybody, at least off the record, will tell you that monitoring doesn't work and auditing of supplier factories doesn't work, because people cheat." (Women's Wear Daily article)


How's This for a Corporate Audit?

On Wednesday, October 27, 2010, the Hanes' monitors entered Classic Unit 4 around 11:00 am. The workers imagined the two women auditors were from the United States. The auditors were accompanied by several Classic managers, including production manager, Mr. Sorminda. The monitors asked a Bangladeshi sewing operator if she had her akama (work permit) and passport. They spoke with several workers and after a half hour or so went on to inspect Classic Unit 1 and 2.

That same morning Classic management warned the workers to watch what they say to the monitors. Everyone knew what was going on and what they had to do. The workers said they were being "pressured and intimidated to speak in favor of management."

Just a day after Hanes' visit, on Thursday, October 28, workers at Classic Units 1, 2, 4, and 6 were forced to work an all night shift. In Classic Unit 4, 50 percent of workers- two sewing lines, cutting and finishing-worked an all night shift making jackets for the very same U.S. company that had audited the factory the day before.  All overtime is strictly mandatory. At Classic Unit 1, one sewing line worked the all night shift, as did another line in Classic Unit 2, and two lines in Classic Unit 6. Moreover, Classic Unit 3 and 5 were forced to work on Friday, October 29, despite the fact that Friday is the workers' legal weekly holiday.

The Classic workers asked us: "Why didn't the buyers come at night to see how the work is going on? And why didn't they visit on Friday to see how many of the Classic factories were working in full swing?"

It sounds impossible, but some workers said that Classic factory managers actually helped translate some of the interviews the auditors had with the workers.