R.L. Denim/Bangladesh (Metro Group)

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The world's third largest retailer, Metro Groupwith outlets across Europe—accounts for more than 80% of production at the Bangladeshi R.L. Demin factory, where 650 mostly young women workers are routinely beaten, denied maternity leave and forced to work grueling hours while being shortchanged of their wages.

From worker interviews, we found horrific sweatshop abuses: an eighteen-year-old woman overworked to death; a seventeen-year-old was kicked by a manager and collapsed on the shopfloor; beatings and forced 20-hour shifts are common; women asking for their legal right to maternity leave were kicked out of the factory without a cent.

After the report was released in May 2009, the Verdi United Service union in Germany, UNITE in the United Kingdom, and the United Steelworkers union in the U.S. pledged solidarity and supported the exploited workers. Such pressure resulted in a quick and serious turnaround. The R.L. Denim factory has been cleaned up and the workers continue to be genuinely excited and pleased with all the recent improvements in the R.L. Denim factory.

 

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