Unite is calling for reforms to the Dyson supply chain following allegations of the abuse of migrant workers at a factory in Malaysia that manufactures products for the well-known brand.
The allegations, broadcast on Channel 4 News, were of extensive violations of their legal rights including forced labour, physical and psychological injuries, false imprisonment, cruel and degrading treatment and exposure to extremely hazardous working conditions.
Unite international director Simon Dubbins said, “Unite joins the international labour movement in demanding Dyson ensures that human and labour rights abuses do not occur in any part of the company’s supply chain.
“Independent trade unions must also be allowed across the company and its supply chains so workers’ rights are protected and consumers can be confident they are not buying products that are made at the misery of others,” he added.
Workers at the factory, owned by ATA Industrial, reported that they had to pay a recruitment fee and were paid below minimum wage, sometimes earning less than £9 per day and working up to 18 hours a day.
They also allege their passports were retained for the duration of their employment, leaving them trapped at the factory.
Reports indicate that many lived in unsanitary and overcrowded living conditions of up to 80 people per room and their movements were restricted by security guards and they lived in fear of violence and arrest.
Recruitment fees, poor living conditions, passport retention, excessive hours, enforced overtime, and restrictions on movement are all clear indicators of forced labour as defined by the International Labour Organisation.
James Dyson, the UK’s richest man, began moving product production out of the UK to Singapore and Malaysia in 2002, eliciting criticism that he was chasing low costs and laxer employment regulation.
By Ryan Fletcher