‘I have destroyed my boy’s future to feed the family’
AT the Ananta factory, in Ashulia, 15 miles north of Dhaka, we were met by Kaiser Hossain, a senior director of production. He spoke proudly of his factory, and explained the safety procedures at length.
Workers at the factory – which makes boys’ grey trousers costing from £8 to £13 at Next – receive at least the minimum wage, he said, but skilled operatives earn more.
Machine operator Nashrin, 30, earns £47.90 a month (just over 25p an hour) basic. She recently took son Mannan, 14, out of school to work. He now runs a roadside tea stall for 16 hours a day to boost the family income. She said: ‘I feel I have destroyed my son’s future. If they gave me a bigger salary, then of course I would put him back in school. I want him to be educated.’
A Next spokesperson said: ‘It is a key priority for Next to ensure it trades ethically, sources responsibly and works to assure the safety and human rights of workers within its direct global supply chain. Next’s principle standards (incorporated into its code of practice) include no child labour, safe and healthy working conditions, no forced labour, fair wages and benefits and lawful working conditions. Since 2010, Next has audited Ananta Garments ten times, the last time being in April 2017. No contraventions to any legal standards of payments have ever been found.’
SHOP FLOOR: Ananta workers make boys’ grey trousers
MINIMUM WAGE: The Antana factory at Ashulia supplies Next