LONDON – Online fashion retailer ASOS has outlined remediation efforts after one of its suppliers in Mauritius fell into liquidation and failed to pay salaries to 180 workers for two months. Tex Knit Garment blamed a lack of work orders for the situation which left many workers unable to meet minimal daily living costs. Many of the workers had travelled from Bangladesh to work at Tex Knit and were subsequently been left in limbo as they entered the country as garment workers and have been therefore unable to take up other work.
In response, ASOS has confirmed it is liaising with local unions, the liquidators of the factory, the Mauritian government and other local partners. ASOS also said it had been able to ensure the workers’ electricity and water supplies were reconnected at their accommodation and that workers are being provided with an ongoing food allowance. It claims workers have been paid wages owed for June and it had confirmed with the liquidators that they intend to pay remaining outstanding wages in full by 26 August.
John Lewis & Partners said it had stopped sourcing from Tex Knits this year since the factory went into liquidation.
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ASOS said it had identified 83 of the 151 workers affected as being migrant workers from Bangladesh. The business says it has been in discussion with the Mauritian government about repatriating migrant workers who wish to return home and is working to find employment for the remaining migrant workers. It has also asked the Mauritian government to meet its responsibility regarding the adequate and proper payment of severance pay under local law. ASOS said it is “continuing to monitor the situation and engage with those involved to ensure that workers’ rights and protections remain the utmost priority.”
Added a statement from ASOS: “Migrant workers’ visas in Mauritius are tied to their employment, meaning they are not able to seek alternative employment (even in the case of insolvency) without government intervention. We have therefore been engaging daily with local government as a matter of urgency in order to redeploy these workers and have also investigated placing these workers with our other suppliers in Mauritius, although these efforts have as yet been unsuccessful. Of the 83 Bangladeshi workers, 14 currently wish to return home. We have been speaking to the government and understand that their repatriation is now underway. 19 further workers have been redeployed elsewhere on the island. We are … working with the liquidators and government to find employment for the remaining 50 migrant workers.”