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Walmart textile workers in Asia protest against working conditions – workers rights group “Jobs with Justice Education Fund” publishes report

The workers rights groups Jobs with Justice Education Fund (JWJ) and the Asia Floor Wage Alliance have published the report “New Findings on Conditions Across Walmart’s Garment Supplier Factories in Cambodia, India and Indonesia” in June 2015. They evaluate the working conditions in factories producing textile goods for Walmart in Cambodia, India and Indonesia. To their great concern workers still have to face poor labour standards even though in some aspects there has been gradual improvement.

In all three countries the NGOs held interviews with workers from factories producing for Walmart and compiled a study. In most factories workers have to work overtime with up to 14 hours a day on 6 days a week which is often not voluntary.

In almost all factories workers “voiced serious concern about their access to clean drinking water and sanitary toilet facilities and about overheating.” Cambodian workers reported sexual harassment incidents by supervisors being a daily occurrence.

While there have been improvements concerning wages, the monthly minimum wage in Cambodia, India and Indonesia does not resemble an actual living wage. However, all factories included in the research have offered a benefits system that adds to the basic wage. But “factories have consistently placed unrealistically strict requirements on workers seeking these benefits, often withdrawing them for unjustified reasons”, the report states.1

The Asia Floor Alliance recommends installing local CSR-compliance representatives in supplier countries which can assist in investigating workers’ rights violations.

Walmart has not responded to any of the accusations included in the report. The study argues that Walmart is “notorious for being the most difficult large brand to communicate with.”

“Despite its investment in Cambodia giving the brand “huge leverage” to improve working conditions, Walmart remain “right on the bottom” when it comes to protecting workers rights, according to Joel Preston, a consultant with the Community Legal Education Centre, which authored the Cambodia section of the report.2

Walmart refuses the allegations, stating that “we’re committed to working with our spplier partners and their factories to help them develop the capability to improve working conditions by investing in education, training and operational efficiencies.”3

  1. accessed 20.07.2015 []
  2. (accessed 20.07.2015) []
  3. (accessed 20.07.2015) []