‘I have de­stroyed my boy’s fu­ture to feed the fam­ily’

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Femail -

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.’

MIN­I­MUM WAGE: The An­tana fac­tory at Ashu­lia sup­plies Next

SHOP FLOOR: Ananta work­ers make boys’ grey trousers

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