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Workers complain of low wages and abuse at Trump factory

13 June 2017 16:19


Employees working in a factory that makes clothes for Ivanka Trump’s fashion label have complained about their surprisingly low wages and abusive working conditions.

More than a dozen workers at the Indonesia-based label factory, owned by the US president’s daughter, described how they are paid one of the lowest minimum wages across Asia despite impossibly high production targets, according to The Guardian.

The workers told the British daily that they often cannot afford to live with their children on their “poverty pay.” They also said they are offered compensation if they do not call in sick.

The complaints come only a week after labor activists conducting an undercover investigation into possible abuses at a Chinese factory that produces shoes for Ivanka Trump were taken into police custody.

The group said they had uncovered many violations at the factory, including wages below China’s legal minimum wage, verbal abuses by managers and “violations of women’s rights.”

Workers at the Indonesian factory made similar complaints, except that their wages were much lower than their counterparts in China.

One of the employees who identified herself as Alia said she and her husband can never think about clearing their debts.

Staff arrive for work at the PT Buma factory in Subang, Indonesia, which makes Ivanka Trump branded clothing. (Photo by the Guardian)

Alia has worked for years at the PT Buma Apparel Industry factory, making clothes for brands including Ivanka Trump. However, Alia and her husband still live in a boarding house, rented for $30 a month, away from their children.

Alia said her children live with their grandmother hours away by motorcycle and get to see their parents once a month if the family can pay for patrol.

She lamented that her idea of work-life balance — a concept Ivanka Trump has promoted in her new book on women — would be if she could see her children more than once a month.

Alia is only one of the hundreds of women working at Buma. The factory currently employs 2,759 workers, of which about three-quarters are women, according to the regional manpower office.

Ivanka: Trying to not listen to ‘the noise’

Ivanka Trump has been the focus of a boycott campaign for her fashion line and has come under criticism for supporting her father’s presidency.

The first daughter said she has been surprised by the level of negative feeling towards herself and President Donald Trump.

“There is a level of viciousness that I was not expecting,” she said in an interview with Fox & Friends on Monday.

“Some of the distractions and some of the ferocity I was a little blindsided by on a personal level,” she said, adding “I’m trying to keep my head down and not listen to the noise.”

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