Flintshire firm sourcing granite from child labour quarry according to a major human rights report.

A Buckley based kitchen worktop supplier has been named in a damning report on working conditions in granite quarries in India.

A report by the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) and Stop Child Labour has revealed major human rights and labour rights violations.

Researchers interviewed 172 employees at 22 quarries in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana.

They found evidence of child labour at seven of the quarries and debt slavery at 19.

More than 30 companies and banks from the UK, EU, US, Australia and Canada are named in the report as sourcing products from the 22 quarries.

Grantech a supplier of granite worktops based at Spencer Industrial Estate in Buckley has been linked in the report to a granite mine in Chimakurthi, Andhra Pradesh.

The mine was found to be one of the worst performing quarries when ranked on child labour, modern slavery, health and safety management and wages.

Investigators found none of the 22 quarries allegedly had a prevention system for child labour, modern slavery through debt bondage was rife as were unsafe and unhealthy working and living conditions.

Grantech’s website says; “our clients are our main priority” are one of six UK companies named in the report, they import luxury star galaxy granite directly from the Chimakurthie mine, it sells for upwards of £300 per sq metre in the UK, .

 

More than 70% of the workforce in granite quarries are casual labourers employed on a daily wage or piece rate, many of those unskilled workers are paid as little as £3.20 a day.

The research has revealed child labour is still prevalent in main quarry operations in seven of the sample quarries including Grantech’s quarry of choice.

Child labour, those workers below the age of 18 years, used to be rampant in granite quarries in the early 2000s but declined because of interventions by the Indian government.

None of the investigated sites were found to have prevention and rehabilitation systems in place for child labour.

The ICN report also describes how workers are given wage advances of one to three months in the form of high-interest loans, nearly 25% of the workers are recruited by providing loans, with annual interest rates of 24% to 36%.

This creates debt bondage, as workers must clear the amount before they can change employer.

In the quarry Grantech imports its granite from this form of modern slavery is prevalent.

On the back of the report, UK retail chains John Lewis and Habitat have withdrawn granite products from their range over fears of child labour and slavery within its Indian supply chains.

The draft ICN report was sent to all 36 companies and banks named, only 5 responded, Deeside.com has asked Grantech for a comment, they are yet to reply.

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