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No bathroom breaks: US factory workers wear diapers

13 May 2016 03:59 pm - 11     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Poultry workers in the US are routinely denied bathroom breaks to the point of being forced to wear diapers while on the production line, AFP reported.

The “vast majority” of 250,000 workers in the sector are mocked, ignored or threatened with being fired when they ask to go to the bathroom, Oxfam America said in the study.

“Workers struggle to cope with this denial of a basic human need. They urinate and defecate while standing on the line; they wear diapers to work,” said the report, released this week.

The US arm of the global anti-poverty charity added that workers would take on dangerously low levels of liquids, enduring pain and discomfort while risking serious health problems.

The group quoted anonymous workers at Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, Pilgrim’s Pride and Sanderson Farms, which between them have 100,000 workers and account for 60 percent of the sector.

Tyson, one of the biggest poultry firms in the world, said in a statement it would “not tolerate the denial of requests to use the bathroom” in its factories.

“We’re concerned about these anonymous claims and while we currently have no evidence they’re true, are checking to make sure our position on restroom breaks is being followed,” it said.

Oxfam cites a survey of 266 workers in Alabama conducted by the anti-discrimination Southern Poverty Law Center which said “nearly 80 percent said they are not allowed to take bathroom breaks when needed.”

“A recent survey in Minnesota revealed that 86 percent of workers interviewed said they get fewer than two bathroom breaks in a week,” Oxfam added.

The charity added that the few employees who say they are allowed to relieve themselves whenever they wish work in plants that are unionised, around one third of the total.

Supervisors deny workers permission to leave the production line because they are under intense pressure to keep up with production or meet daily quotas, the report said.

Workers were waiting an hour or more and then racing across vast, often slippery workshop floors to accomplish the task quickly enough to avoid being disciplined, Oxfam added.

“While the poultry industry today enjoys record profits and pumps out billions of chickens, the reality of life inside the processing plant remains grim and dangerous,” the report went on.

“Workers earn low wages, suffer elevated rates of injury and illness, toil in difficult conditions, and have little voice in the workplace.”

Oxfam called on the companies to deploy “floating” workers to step in temporarily when employees needed to leave the line, ensuring production would not be halted.

Tyson Foods says it has met with Oxfam and has already complied with the request. Perdue, Sanderson and Pilgrim’s were not immediately available for comment.

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  • L N Roychoudhury Saturday, 14 May 2016 09:50 AM

    Yech !!! If I ever go to USA, I shall stick to fish, pork or beef. While walking around, if I see a KFC outlet from the distance, I shall change footpath.I hope, they allow bathroom breaks in fish, pork or beef processing factories.

    ANTON Saturday, 14 May 2016 10:30 AM

    IN OUR GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS, EMPLOYEES ARE GIVEN HALF AN HOUR BATHROOM BREAK TO GET READY TO GO HOME. .... FROM 4.00 PM TO 4.30 PM NO ONE IN THEIR SEATS ONLY FANS AND AC ARE VERY BUSY WITH THE WORK.

    Thanos Saturday, 14 May 2016 10:43 AM

    Land of the free home of the brave?

    King Modaya Saturday, 14 May 2016 11:28 AM

    Still, some people think that we should bow down to US because they are "powerful".

    Navaneethan Pillay Saturday, 14 May 2016 11:29 AM

    Wake me up... wake me up... where am I ????

    Tuan Rasseedeen Saturday, 14 May 2016 01:19 AM

    Democracy at its best via DM Android App

    CitizenPerera Saturday, 14 May 2016 06:25 AM

    Modern day slavery at its best. Everyone of these poultry companies make billions in profit each year, and the profit gets off shored by circumventing US corporate taxes. These company plutocrats should be imprisoned or fed to ISIS.

    Humanrights Saturday, 14 May 2016 07:12 AM

    Where those Human-rights experts!, These are the real crimes against humanity.

    prasangi Saturday, 14 May 2016 07:33 AM

    Gross human rights violations in the US but the lapdog UN is silent. Cultured Sri Lankan entrepreneurs would never do this type of a thing to their valued employees

    Cheers Saturday, 14 May 2016 08:11 AM

    They who call the best human rights practiced country in the world where is the So called the human rights commissioner some prince are you blind

    ravin56 Saturday, 14 May 2016 08:18 AM

    Supposed to be the world guardians of human rights? Hope they practice before they preach.


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