Top Jeans Company Moves Production To Mexico

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Two years after the contractors for Guess? jeans were accused of labour abuses at Los Angeles, the company Top Jeans has moved its factory to the Mexican city of Tehuacan.

But the allegations of labour abuses continue.

At the new Top Jeans plant, over one-thousand workers are stitching together hundreds of pairs of jeans every day for low salaries and no overtime pay.

This is the Top Jeans plant in Tehuacan, Mexico.

As many as 800 jeans are manufactured here each day to meet the demands of a large international jeans market.

Two years after the contractors for Guess? Jeans were accused of alleged labour abuses at their Los Angeles plant, the company has moved its sewing work south of the border to Tehuacan – a small town in the Mexican state of Puebla.

At Top Jeans, over one-thousand workers – some as young as 16 – are forced to work long hours of overtime to meet production quotas.

Some stitchers must sew as many as 800 waistbands per day without getting the mandated double-time pay.

If they don’t meet their quotas they allegedly run the risk of getting sacked.

“A lot of people are fired and they don’t give them even a cent”
SUPER CAPTION: Elpidio Peralta, Top Jeans worker

Workers at Top Jeans earn about six U-S dollars per day.

That’s above the legal minimum wage of three-dollars and seventy-five cents per day, but not enough to live on.

For many workers it’s the only job available since few have the necessary skills to get a job elsewhere.

SOUNDBITE: (Spanish)
” If we go and ask for a job anywhere else we have to show them a lot of papers and I don’t have secondary studies, I only have my primary studies.”
SUPER CAPTION: Celerina Garcia, stitcher

Top Jeans produces about three (m) million pairs of jeans annually, all for export to high street stores.

It makes an average of over 220-thousand U-S dollars in profits.

While U-S labour groups and Mexican unions are increasing attention and organising efforts at maquiladora – as these border plants are called – unions are very weak in Tehucan.

But Top Jeans management claims their workers are treated fairly.

SOUNDBITE: (Spanish)
“I will define Top Jeans as a company were the most important raw material is the people.”
SUPER CAPTION: Jorge Nakid, Manager Top Jeans

Many claim that by moving production to places like Tehuacan, U-S manufacturers have been largely successful at avoiding scrutiny of U-S employment law.

According to industrial sources, there are 400 legally-registered maquiladoras in Tehuacan, and at least 100 more illegally-operated shops.

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bob collisionman says:

did the workers move with them cause they don,t seem to happy

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