Tuesday 25 March 2008

Modern Day Slavery exposed at TESCO in Malaysia

An investigation by The Daily Telegraph (United Kingdom) has uncovered the fact that people subcontracted to work up to 80 hours a week in Tesco's supermarkets in Malaysia found themselves employed in circumstances that meet the United Nations' definition of forced labour.

Read the full article in the UK Daily Telegraph HERE

Tesco, the UK supermarket chain, is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), which commits members to checking their entire supply chain to ensure that forced labour is not used.

"Doing business in some overseas markets can be challenging as local laws and customs sometimes appear to conflict with the high expectations we have here in the UK and elsewhere in the international community," the company reportedly had said.

"However, wherever we operate we insist on the highest standards of welfare for workers, both our own and - as in this case - those employed by contractors working for us.

We take allegations such as these very seriously and have launched an immediate investigation with our contractors.

Whilst we do not believe that they are deliberately seeking to disadvantage their workers, if improvements need to be made we will not hesitate to make them."

A pay slip (click on it for larger image) for a Bangladeshi cleaner at a Tesco Malaysia store, who is employed by a Malaysian sub-contractor, shows basic monthly pay of only RM 135.48 [about GB£21.50] after deductions.

Dan Rees, director of ETI was reported to have said that:

"ETI members are expected to put robust systems in place to check that their suppliers are employing workers in decent conditions and their rights under national and international laws are respected.”

"Companies have an important responsibility to ensure that labour agents are decent employers but the root causes of the problem lies with the Malaysian government whose policies promote the exploitation of vulnerable migrant workers."

Roger Plant, head of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) special action programme to combat forced labour, is reported to have said:

"Many people would use the term 'modern day slavery' to describe the situation faced by these workers. We call it forced labour which is a criminal offence under international law."

Modern Day Slavery appears to be alive and well in Malaysia.

Foreign and local workers are being exploited by their employees, how utterly shameful.

The Malaysian government, as well as other governments, employers such as Tesco and all other companies which exploit workers in Malaysia and elsewhere in the world, must put an immediate stop to this modern day form of slavery, forced labour and a blatant criminal abuse of human rights.

Vita non est vivere sed valere vita est
- Life is more than merely staying alive


zorro said...

captain....you scooped this! I await response from tesco....so would you?

mindful mariner said...

Greetings Zorro, thanks for your comments.
The net is expanding.
Now the BBC also has the story here:


Soon it will be closing in on the culprits.
Tesco will need to sort out their self made mess, their response is eagerly awaited.

Human exploitation is unacceptable worldwide!