Inside the outdoor industry

Columbia caught up in abuse report

Watchdog highlights serious allegations of abuse at Indian plant

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Columbia is one of the brands accused in a report by an international watchdog group of ignoring reports of violence and other serious abuses against workers at an Indian clothing factory.

According to the report, from late March through mid-April, managers at a Bangalore factory owned by Shahi Exports, which claims to be India’s largest clothing manufacturer, repressed attempts by workers to unionise and stifled an increase in the workers’ wages. The campaign, it says, included “physical beatings; death threats; gender, caste, and religion-based abuse; threats of mass termination; and the expulsion from the factory of 15 worker activists.”

The group behind the report, the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), is a nonprofit founded by university administrators, students, and international labor-rights experts to investigate working conditions in the global garment trade.

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