A national newspaper has said there are further revelations to
come after a story yesterday alleging that child labour is employed by a well-known
The Sunday Mirror claims that Rugby-based James Gilbert Ltd, a major manufacturer of
rugby balls, has its products made in India by children who are as young as ten and paid
as little as ten pence to forty pence a day.
However, the paper did confirm that when Gilberts managing director Rodney Webb
was told of their finding he was "genuinely shocked" and promised to conduct a
The article also details dangerous working conditions in the factories and editor Colin
Myler believes that something must be done about the situation quickly.
"Our reporter went into the factories used and he also went in the sweat shops.
"There is something rather ironic in this because some of the other Gilbert balls,
not the ones that are being manufactured for the World Cup, have a UNICEF stamp and the
words '10% of the wholesale proceeds of this product will go to UNICEFs work for the
eradication of child labour in India'.
"So on the one hand you have a company which is obviously well aware through its
relationship with UNICEF about the way that children are exploited in India, and this
company is making people aware of it and doing something about it.
"What struck me however was that in the course of 16 years surely you would have
had a representative out there to make sure that children were not exploited in that way.
"We were out there for less than a week and yet Gilberts have had this
business relationship for 16 years.
"We have more information and we will be following this up next week."
The article detailed the fact that the balls are manufactured in three stages, the
preparing of the inner-tube, the cutting of the leather, and then the stitching and
it is this last stage which allegedly uses child labour.
"The products are transported to Savvy International factory which is owned by a
man called Ashok Verma, who is Gilberts main man in India and he subcontracts some
of the work out to the sweat shops.
"This is where the child labour is employed with around 600 stitchers who
manufacture 10,000 balls a day."
Rodney Webb managing director of Gilberts was today unavailable for comment.