An audit conducted for Gap Inc. at two factories in Myanmar has discovered several problems for workers that the retailer says it has already begun to address. The report was submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon, where it is posted online, and conducted by Amherst, MA-based labor organization Verité.
Workers reported abuse by supervisors, inconsistent rules and enforcement, unpaid or inadequately paid overtime, inadequate time off, and several health and safety violations, according to Verité.
The company announced in June that it would be the first U.S. retailer to begin having clothes made in Myanmar.
Myanmar is seen as having less stringent rules on working conditions than in Bangladesh, where a fire last year killed more than a thousand garment workers and set off an international public outcry about worker safety. Gap Inc., like many U.S. retailers that have not signed an international accord to address factory problems and worker safety issues abroad, has come under severe criticism from activists who say its self-policing doesn’t go far enough.
But it’s a tricky situation for Myanmar, also known as Burma. Gap Inc. is one of the first American companies to begin sourcing its goods in the country since the lifting of economic sanctions in 2012.