Shanty town where armed guards stalk

The Mail on Sunday - - Girl About Town -

THE DIRD Com­pos­ite Tex­tiles fac­tory is on a busy street in Gazipur, Bangladesh, but the tall, omi­nous build­ing is be­hind large gates manned by guards.

The MoS ap­proached work­ers tak­ing their lunch­break a short dis­tance down the road from the fac­tory, which makes Tesco F&F school jumpers which sell for £5 in the UK. Soon, se­nior staff de­manded we stop speak­ing to em­ploy­ees.

Many work­ers live in a shanty town nearby, with chick­ens roam­ing the muddy waste­land. Within five min­utes of our re­porters’ ar­rival in the liv­ing quar­ters, two se­cu­rity guards car­ry­ing ba­tons ar­rived.

Shamim, 30, earns £64.47 a month (34p an hour) as a ma­chine op­er­a­tor. He said it is hard to pro­vide for his wife and son, 12. ‘My son stays at my home vil­lage. I miss him a lot. If I earned more, he would stay close to me,’ he said. Tesco said: ‘We con­tinue to work with our sup­pli­ers to im­prove wages and would take firm ac­tion against any abuse or un­der­pay­ment.’

DIRD said: ‘We re­fute your im­pli­ca­tion that the work­force are mis­treated. We pro­vide higher salary than most of the fac­to­ries.’ The com­pany said em­ploy­ees’ chil­dren were of­fered mu­sic lessons and day­care.

LOW WAGE: A DIRD fac­tory worker holds up a £5 Tesco school jumper

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