News - 2022

ID of Jeyasre Kathiravel. © Handout

Huge success in India: H&M signs contract with Indian producer Eastman to stop gender specific violence

In the South Indian state Tamil Nadu, the textile worker Jeyasre (20 years old) has been raped and killed by her supervisor at 5th of January 2021. Subsequently, the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) executed an independent investigation on behalf of H&M. Conversations of H&M with Eastman Group, as well as with the labour union Tamil Nadu Textile and Common Union (TTCU) took place. These conversations resulted in the setup of a legally binding agreement against gender specific violence.

The factory Natchi Apparels, where Jeyasre has worked, is part of the large and well-known Eastman Group. Arranged in two shifts, more than 1500 workers do work here. H&M is one of the most important contracting entities of the factory. After the killing of Jeyasre, several Indian, and global protests took place. Femnet also participated in those. The Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), located in the USA, executed an independent investigation on behalf of H&M. Within the investigation, further female workers confirmed cases of gender specific violence at Natchi factory. Until now, results of the investigation are not published. Anyhow, conversations of H&M with Eastman Group, as well as with the labour union Tamil Nadu Textile and Common Union (TTCU) have been initiated. Thereby, a legal binding agreement with extensive value could have been achieved. This agreement is unique for India and gives hope to labour unions and labour law organizations, as it could be understood as a change bringing model for the cooperation of brands, suppliers, labour unions, and global working partners.

According to the agreement all workers, supervisors, and mangers must take part in training courses on gender specific violence. Additionally, TTCU is going to recruit and train female staff as "Shopfloor Monitor", taking care that women are protected against verbal harassment and sexual intimidation.

In terms of the agreement, also the internal grievance committees of Natchi are going to be revised. Even if grievance structures are regulated by Indian Law for all workplaces, they have not been implemented sufficiently in Natchi-factories to protect the female workers against violence executed by men.

From now on, female workers have the possibility to report sexual harassment anonymously at an independent committee. This committee is authorized to lay off perpetrators, and to claim financial compensation for victims and their family members.

FEMNET is congratulating TTCU and all supporters to this ground-breaking agreement.

 

Am 22. Februar 2021 berichtete FEMNET über den Mord an Jeyasre.