Exclude exploitative working conditions for gravestones
Hannover / Frankfurt am Main – On the occasion of the Day Against Child Labor on June 12, 2016, XertifiX and the industrial union Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt (IG BAU) draw attention to the ongoing grievances in the Indian gravestone industry. An investigative search of the Süddeutsche Zeitung in December 2015 has shown that still Children in Indian (grave) quarries (SZ Magazin 09/2016). They are not only used there without any protective equipment in health-endangering jobs, but also do not visit a school. “Children need education, so they only have a chance to take their lives into their own hands and free themselves from the poverty trap, so we can not support structures where children are abused as low-cost volunteers,” says Deputy IG BAU Chairman of the Board of Dietmar Schäfers. Without good education, the next generation remains in poverty. “Anyone who makes a profit through imports of such natural stones is guilty of the fate and the endangering of these children,” said the chairman of XertifiX, Ingrid Sehrbrock. In this case, child labor does not mean a “necessary extra” for families in poverty – as it is sometimes heard – but the health impairment of children and the perpetuation of poverty in every generation![Full announcement in German]
For the upcoming renovation of the Saarbrücken pedestrian zone, the city has even verpflichet to accept only natural stones with a certificate. It is still open, for which material one decides. But if they buy natural stone from overseas, they will pay attention to the certification already in the tender: “The criteria to be fulfilled will be laid down in the tender documents and the tenderers must prove the certification of the materials used.” Please refer: Saarbrücker Zeitung
This approach is exemplary, as far as the tendering process is concerned, that the material offered must be certified and that all bidders can adapt accordingly.
Die Thomson Reuters Foundation reports on the working conditions in Indian quarries and the negative health consequences for the workers.
According to this, Thomson Reuters also confirms the massive health burden for the workers, caused by the unprotected work in the fine dust: about half of the total 2 million workers would suffer from silicosis or other lung diseases. Not a few lead to death. Since the disease was often diagnosed incorrectly as tuberculosis, the affected persons also received no state compensation. XertifiX has been pointing out this fact for years and is working with its standard and controls to protect the workers.
In addition, Thomson Reuters notes the widespread child labor in the sector. This applies not only to the production of stone tiles, but also to stone quarry work: “In Budhpura village, children as young as six or seven years work in the industry, starting with chiselling cobblestones. Boys start working in the quarries from age 12 or 13, while girls may continue making cobblestones and tiles.”
On April 18, 2016 Reform of public procurement law entered into force (law and Directive). For contracts above the so-called EU threshold, the award was simplified and modernized. This applies in particular to the consideration of social aspects: “The possibilities for contracting authorities to set strategic objectives – eg environmental, social or innovative aspects – in the framework of procurement procedures are strengthened.”
This means that the Federal Government is implementing three EU directives for the award of 2014, including the Public Procurement Directive (Directive 2014/24/EU).
The Süddeutsche Zeitung reports in the magazine of 04 March 2016 (09/2016) of researches commissioned by the Catholic relief organization “Die Sternsinger“:
The result of the investigative research, in which Benjamin Pütter was accompanied by an SZ journalist, Björn Stephan: Child laborers were found in a South Indian quarry where natural stones for gravestones are mined! And: The supply chain is from this quarry with child laborers to a German gravestone operation traceable! That’s a shame – also considering that the import industry is repeatedly and even repeatedly denying the possibility em> that children could work in quarries on raw material for tombstones .
Pütter is the one of the few worldwide who researches investigatively in South Indian quarries and proves that child laborers work in quarries for German tombstones – and this now for over 10 years.
For this work Pütter has been heavily criticized since his first research by the industry and the press, sued in court and accused of lying. The report of the SZ shows the merit of Pütter and the dangers that he repeatedly exposes to the search for truth. After all: He can not be accused of any conflict of interest – this time, Pütter’s trip was completely independent of XertifiX and initiated and financed by the relief organization “Die Sternsinger“.
For Germany, the latest findings mean:
It’s about time that it is banned in Germany nationwide, that Indian grave stones are set up without serious certification in the cemeteries. By a certificate such as XertifiX not only the quarries and natural stone processors are checked on child labor, but there are also improvements working conditions and decent wages of adult workers.
Please refer: Magazin (09/2016) der Süddeutschen Zeitung (release date: 04. März 2016)
South India: 84 quarries found guilty of illegal miningA few years ago, illegal natural stone mining in South India was uncovered ( we reported ). The convened commission of inquiry (“The Sagayam Committee”) has now submitted a final report. Accordingly, the amount being misappropriated is estimated to be around Rs 65,154.60 crore. Converted into euros, these are almost inconceivable around 9 billion euros (1 crore rupee = 10,000,000 rupees) at the current exchange rate. The report includes 624 pages with 31 volumes Appendix.
Please refer: The New Indian Express
Am 01. Dezember 2015 hat das Bayerische Kabinett einen Gesetzentwurf zum Verbot von Grabsteinen aus ausbeuterischer Kinderarbeit gebilligt. Friedhofsbetreibern in Bayern wird demnach ein Verbot von Grabsteinen aus ausbeuterischer Kinderarbeit ermöglicht. Dabei werden auch Vorgaben des Bundesverwaltungsgerichts (Urteil vom 16. Oktober 2013) berücksichtigt, indem grundlegende Anforderungen an Nachweise geregelt werden.
Gesundheitsministerin Melanie Huml hierzu: “Bürger, Steinmetze und Friedhofsbetreiber können mit dieser Regelung einfach und anhand objektiver Kriterien erkennen, ob ein Zertifikat ausreicht und daher anerkannt wird.”
Arbeitnehmerflügel beschließt neues Grundsatzprogramm am 08.11.15 in BerlinDarin heißt es unter anderem: Der Einsatz für menschenwürdige Arbeitsbedingungen weltweit muss im Zentrum der Politik stehen. Dazu gehört selbstverständlich auch die Freiheit zu Gewerkschaftsarbeit und -betätigung. Ebenso muss die ILO aufgewertet und mit Sanktionmsmechanismen ausgestattet werden. Internationale Unternehmen haben Verantwortung für die Einhaltung von Sozial- und Umweltstandards in der gesamten Lieferkette wahrzunehmen. Transparenz über die Arbeitsbedingungen in den Lieferketten ist hierzu ein wichtiger Beitrag.
Siehe: “Der Mensch ist wichtiger als die Sache”, Berlin 2015
Wer in diesen Tagen über einen herbstlichen Friedhof spaziert, der läuft dabei auch an einer Menge offener Fragen vorbei. Denn viele Grabsteine kommen nicht mehr aus heimischen Steinbrüchen, sondern aus Indien oder China. Woher genau aus diesen Ländern die Steine stammen, das lässt sich nicht in jedem Fall genau sagen, auch nicht, unter welchen Bedingungen sie aus dem Steinbruch gebrochen und bearbeitet wurden. Dabei gibt es Organisationen, die die Produktionsbedingungen prüfen. [weiter…]