Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, is facing a lawsuit from a group of migrant workers from Myanmar, alleging dire working conditions at a factory in Thailand that produced the group’s F&F range of garments. ing.
Law firm Lee Day said the 130 migrant workers were employed by Tesco, Ekchai Distribution Systems Company Limited, which was owned by Tesco until 2020, and audit firm Intertek Group and Intertek.・The company said it is filing a legal claim against Testing Service (Thailand) Limited.
The migrants claimed they were forced to work up to 99 hours a week with illegal wages and forced labor conditions at the VK Garments factory in Mae Sot between 2017 and 2020, Lee Day said.
The allegations were first reported by Guardian newspaper.
Tesco sold its Thai and Malaysian operations to Dhanin Chearavanont’s CP Group for $10.6 billion in December 2020 and was not involved in operating the factory.
However, Tesco and Ekchai have been accused of negligence for “failing to permit, encourage, and/or prevent illegal working and housing conditions that have caused injury and loss to workers.”
They are also accused of “unjustly gaining wealth” at the expense of workers, it said.
Intertek has been accused of negligence for “failing to identify and/or report illegal working and housing conditions resulting in harm to workers.”
Leigh Day turned to Tesco and Intertek to resolve the workers’ claims.
If this doesn’t happen, workers said they would consider taking the matter forward in high court.
A Tesco spokeswoman said: “The allegations highlighted in this report are so serious that if we had identified such issues at the time they occurred, we would have immediately terminated our relationship with this supplier.
“Although the risk of human rights violations is completely unacceptable, even in the rare cases where human rights violations are confirmed, we take appropriate action and take great care to ensure that workers respect their human rights and freedoms.”
A Tesco spokesperson urged suppliers to reimburse workers for wages owed by them.
Intertek said it took the issues raised “very seriously”.
We also note that these matters are currently subject to legal proceedings in Thailand and the UK, and therefore cannot comment while these proceedings are ongoing.
By James Davey.Edited by Susan Fenton
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