Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein workers abuse Ethiopia

LONDON, April 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Fashion giant PVH, which owns Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, said it will investigate reports that Ethiopian workers who make clothes for their high-street stores routinely face verbal abuse and discrimination and earn as little as 12 cents per hour.

Workers in PVH supplier factories in Ethiopia are also forced to do unpaid overtime and lose pay for drinking water at their work stations, according to the U.S.-based Workers Rights Consortium (WRC), which monitors labour conditions worldwide.


Hiring managers at one factory felt the stomachs of job applicants to see if they were pregnant, a WRC report found.

“We will conduct an immediate and thorough investigation and take appropriate action if any violations are found,” a PVH spokeswoman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation late on Monday in a statement responding to the WRC’s findings.

“PVH takes the allegations raised in the WRC report very seriously, noting, however, that some of the interviews are two years old and the [Hawassa Industrial] Park and its practices have evolved since then.”

PVH helped finance the flagship manufacturing hub in the southern Ethiopian town of Hawassa, one of a dozen such parks.

As labour, raw material and tax costs rise in Asian factories, Ethiopia is seeking to offer a cheaper alternative, attracting big brands such as U.S. chain Gap and Sweden’s H&M.

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