Investigation Claims Wal-Mart Suppliers Use Child Labour

Portage Daily Graphic (Manitoba)

By the Canadian Press

Wal-Mart Canada's in-house clothing brand Simply Basic and other products have been manufactured using child labour in Bangladesh, according to an investigation conducted by Radio-Canada.

The investigation alleges Wal-Mart Canada's suppliers in Bangladesh regularly hired children between the ages of 10 to 14 to work in their factories.

Journalists from the program Zone Libre posed as potential buyers in order to gain access to about a dozen factories in the Narayanganj region.

In excerpts of the documentary to be broadcast tomorrow, young children are seen working in dirty and dimly lit conditions.

Factory workers display clothing from the Simply Basic line, as well as T-shirts emblazoned with I Love My Wal-Mart underneath a small Canadian flag.

Radio-Canada said Wal-Mart conducted its own investigation when faced with the allegations.

''The legal age in Bangladesh is 14 years old and our own investigation confirms that several workers are under the legal age,'' Wal-Mart spokes-man Yanik Deschenes told CBC's French-language service.

''This for us is totally unacceptable and that's why these factories won't have anything to do with Wal-Mart.''

The company's code of conduct for its suppliers sets the minimum age of their workers at 14.