Bangladeshi workers are being paid just 30p an hour to make T-shirts supporting Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign, it has been reported.
Machinists were allegedly found to be working in poverty-stricken conditions and were required to work 10 hours-a-day to make the tops which were sold for £10 each by Corbyn-backing campaign group, Momentum.
Momentum said it has now cancelled the contract for the T-shirts, saying that, if the allegations were true, then they “appear to have been misled by a third party supplier in relation to its labour practices”.
But the Mail on Sunday said the factory concerned was owned by the same firm which was revealed by the newspaper to have paid factory workers in Nicaragua and Haiti as little as 49p an hour to make the official Team Corbyn T-shirts for his first Labour leadership bid.
Momentum said it wanted to ensure a zero-tolerance policy on unethical practices anywhere in the supply chain and would be seeking a new supplier with full ethical standards.
But Nazma Akter, a former child factory worker and founder of the AWAJ Foundation, said Momentum should carry out better checks on the factories it uses.
She told the Mail on Sunday: “This is slave labour and the politician should know this because he is the leader of the Labour Party.
“What conditions does he expect for workers when the T-shirts are so cheap? The factory will say it is audited and complies to minimum standards, but the living conditions for these people are terrible, some of the worst in the world.”
Momentum said it would draw up a code of practice capable of maintaining confidence, in spite of the complexity of modern supply chains, that all campaign materials have been produced by businesses that respect labour rights and human rights.
The group said in a statement: “Momentum is dedicated to championing people’s rights at work both at home and overseas.
“We want every worker at home and abroad to be in a trade union, and to enjoy the full protections that the ILO (International Labour Organisation) recommends as minimum standards.
“We refuse to work with any supplier who does not uphold these standards.”
The Mail on Sunday reported that the basic salary at the factory in Baipayl, near the capital Dhaka, was around £63 a month – well below the average wage in Bangladesh of £93.
Employees were said to live in shanty towns made of corrugated iron sheets by a polluted river with several family members sleeping together in cramped rooms.
In 2014, it was reported that T-shirts worn by politicians to champion feminism were being produced by poor migrant workers.
The garments, which carried the slogan ‘This is what a feminist looks like’, were worn by Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Harriet Harman.
But women who made the T-shirts were reportedly paid just 62p an hour in factories in Mauritius.
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