Mar 31, 2016
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Primark ramps up factory checks to avoid refugee exploitation

Mar 31, 2016

Primark, the Irish value fashion retailer that sells clothes for as little as £2 (€2.54) for a T-shirt, is on a mission to ensure its supply chain is ethical and its workers are not exploited, Paul Lister, head of Primark's ethical trading team, told RTÉ News.


As a part of the mission the company has ramped up checks in its factories in Turkey to make sure they are not exploiting refugees from Syria, who, without a right to work, are vulnerable to abuse. Lister told the broadcaster that this year Primark has doubled checks on its 100 or so supplier factories in Turkey.

Earlier this year, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre found that Turkish companies have been illegally employing Syrians. Companies including H&M, Next, C&A and Primark have already detailed their efforts to protect refugee workers, as they had identified Syrian refugees in their Turkish supply base.

Out of Primark's 1,700 supplier companies, about 100 are in Turkey. Lister said Primark monitors workers' conditions at all factories globally by 2,500 audits a year, and spot checks by his ethics team that will expand this year to 83 from 65.

Primark was strongly criticized after the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh in which 1,135 workers were killed. Lister said the disaster was a "wake-up call."

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