cooperation with the Indian manufactory in Calcutta began in 1998.
Three young brothers from India were looking for a partner in Germany.
They contact Harold’s, because they saw in us a partner, who can give
them a deep know-how of craftsmanship of leatherbags. We started with
the production of simple shoulder bags, in order to build up
step-by-step know-how in the young production. During the following
years, the collection was enlarged and the manufactory was introduced to
more demanding bag designs and leather materials.
In this process waxed and oiled vegetable leather tanning was mainly used. These Harold’s typical open-pore leathers are characterized by their high usability and durability. Harold’s has supported the careful construction and extension of the manufactory with an evenly distributed order situation, mainly to preserve the established know-how. The conversation and further development of know-how among the craftsmen is the main issue for the consistently high processing quality of Harold’s bags.
The common path finally led to a new factory in 2005. Since then, our partners have been cooperating with SEDEX and Bureau Veritas. Both organizations apply a concept that serves as a basis for companies to integrate social and environmental concerns on a voluntary basis. The currently 67 employees work for a salary that is above the statutory minimum wage. This is checked by the india state periodically. The contracts include social, health and accident insurance, as well as 15 paid holidays. A maternity leave covers 90 paid days. The workers receive their employment contracts in copy, as well as monthly paid salaries. The regular working time is 48 hours / week (8 hours x 6 days). Overtime is max. 2 hrs / day allowed and are charged with a double hourly wage (200%).
The minimum age is 14 years, but only form 18 years of age, the full working hours are obligatory. There no migratory labour, which support a high processing quality.
In the company there is a workers’ committee, which meets monthly and negotiates tariffs and concerns of the workers. This is contracted. The working hours and breaks are regulated, overtime is paid and does not exceed the legal requirements.
Equality policy is being pursued to avoid discrimination. The workers have a contact person to whom they can turn confidently. Diseases, e.g. HIV infections have no impact on employment and working conditions.
In India the cattle is sacred. However, the Indian population consists of 13% Muslims. For this population, cattle herds are used for food production in east indian countryside. The processing takes place in state-run slaughterhouses, from where our partners purchase the rawhides. With the new factory and the cooperation with SEDEX / Bureau Veritas, the greening of the materials was gradually focused. The change takes place in three areas:
Conversion of semi-vegetable leathers to full vegetable leathers.
Use of organic cotton fabric as lining material for bags.
Use of sustainable, flexibly usable organic cotton packaging.