Canadian clothing and footwear retailer Mark's and its parent company Canadian Tire Corporation have been accused of contravention of international human rights standards for failing to ensure workers in its supplier factories are paid living wages.
The allegations were moved by the United Steelworkers Union (USW) and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) with the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) on Tuesday (22 November), reports USA-based media company Business Wire.
"In the first part of this year, in the areas where Mark's sources its merchandise, average monthly wages for women garment workers were only Tk12,673 taka – that's 173 Canadian dollars per month or less than 1 Canadian dollars per hour. It's not enough for a decent life," USW National Director for Canada Marty Warren was quoted as saying by the Business Wire.
"This is a shameful and long-standing violation of workers' human rights," he added
Addressing the development, CLC President Bea Bruske was quoted as saying – "With this complaint, we are requesting that the CORE investigate the extent of the human rights harms in Mark's Bangladesh supply chain, and based on its investigation, call on the company to take action to compensate workers for past harm, increase transparency about its supply chain and immediately negotiate with Bangladeshi unions to ensure that all workers in supplier factories are paid living wages."
The CORE complaint underlines the need for the Canadian government to adopt legislation that will require Canadian companies, including Mark's and Canadian Tire, to prevent human rights abuses in their supply chains and effectively hold them to account for any violations.
"The Bangladeshi women and men who make clothes in factories like those used by Mark's and Canadian Tire work six days per week, 10-12 hours per day, but earn wages so low that they cannot escape poverty, no matter how hard they work," noted Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity Executive Director Kalpona Akter with the Business Wire.