Women at factories in Lesotho owned by Taiwanese firm say jobs and promotions in jeopardy if they refuse advances, claims report.
Written by Kate Hodal, The Guardian
Women producing jeans for American brands including Levi Strauss, Wrangler and Lee have been forced to have sex with their managers to keep their jobs or gain promotion, an investigation into sexual harassment and coercion at garment factories in Lesotho has found.
Brands have responded to the “extensive” allegations by the US-based Workers Rights Consortium by signing enforceable agreements with labour and women’s rights groups to eliminate gender-based violence for more than 10,000 workers at five factories owned by the Taiwanese company Nien Hsing, one of the southern African country’s largest employers.
A two-year investigation by WRC into Nien Hsing operations, published on Thursday (click here for full WRC report), found that managers and supervisors regularly coerced female workers into sexual relationships by promising promotions or full-time contracts. The investigation also found that management failed to take disciplinary action against offenders, and that workers’ right to unionise was suppressed, preventing them from collectively raising their concerns.