According to ‘Do leather workers matter – Violating labour rights and environmental norms in India’s leather production’ report, female homeworkers face insecure and unprotected work, receive poverty wages and work under unsafe conditions in tanneries. Moreover, children are often involved in leather production in India, mostly in the unorganized part of the sector, working in smaller tanneries and workshops.
Also, toxic chemicals used in tanneries often very negatively impact the health of the workers. Low wage, exploitation of home-based workers, and discrimination have also emerged as major issues being faced by the labourers employed in the industry. Around 2.5 million workers deployed in Indian leather industry often face unacceptable working conditions that violate human rights and seriously affect their health.
In a joint statement 12 member companies of the Ethical Trading Initiative (UK) said that ‘taken together we recognize the very concerning issues in the leather supply chain’. They also said: ‘We commit to working with international and national stakeholders to develop a strategic response to the issues in our leather supply chain’.
19 companies, including the 12 ETI members like C&A, H&M, Primark, Inditex, Marks & Spencer, Next, TESCO, Sainsbury and Pentland, reacted to the report as well as two CSR initiatives: the Leather Working Group and MVO Nederland (CSR Netherlands), and pledged to take serious action against human rights violation in their leather supply chain.