Protests will be held at Bangladesh Embassies across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia this week, in order to demand an end to the biggest crackdowns on workers’ rights ever seen in the country’s garment industry. As part of the #EveryDayCounts campaign, activists from the Clean Clothes Campaign will join with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), UNI Global Union and IndustriALL Global Union to call for an immediate end to the persecution of garment workers, trade union leaders and worker activists in Bangladesh.
Labour rights groups call for a review of EU-Bangladesh trade agreement following massive crackdown on workers rights
The Clean Clothes Campaign is today joining calls from the global trade unions to demand that the European Union immediately initiate an immediate investigation into serious and systematic violations of fundamental workers’ rights in Bangladesh as provided under the EU’s “Everything But Arms” trade scheme. The call follows the arbitrary arrest and detention of workers and union leaders, the closure of union offices, mass dismissals and ongoing threats and intimidation of union activists.
International support and solidarity can make a real difference in local worker struggles shows this week’s success in Sri Lanka. In a workers’ referendum in two factories with a long history of conflict between employers and management, workers voted to have the trade union recognized as legitimate bargaining partner. In the face of years of intense union busting, this testifies to the empowering nature of international solidarity, called in by the trade union.
Twenty-two human and labour rights organizations from around the world are calling on H&M, C&A, Inditex, Gap and VF to press for the release of unjustly imprisoned Bangladeshi union leaders and worker rights advocates and the reinstatement of 1,500 workers suspended or terminated for taking part in a wage strike. Sign the petition!
Thousands of Syrian refugees work long hours in Turkey’s apparel factories in unhealthy conditions with salaries below the minimum wage. Despite Turkey being an important sourcing market for the Nordic brands H&M, KappAhl, Lindex, Gina Tricot and Varner (BikBok, Cubus, Carlings et al), the companies are not doing enough to prevent discrimination of Syrians in their supply chains, according to a report by Fair Action and Future in our hands.
Since last month's wage protests began in Dhaka, Bangladesh thousands of workers along with several grass-roots worker organizations located in the region faced a series of repressive actions from their employers and the government. An estimated 2 - 3000 workers were fired, while numerous legal cases filed at the Ashulia police station accuse at least 1,500 unnamed workers and 150 named workers of vandalism, looting, threatening other workers, and assaulting factory officials. At least 13 union leaders and activists, many of whom had no association with the protests, were detained or arrested. As of January 4, 2017, at least 11 remain in police custody.
Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) is today raising concerns about the safety of trade union leaders and workers in Bangladesh, after a number of labour activists and workers were arrested on apparently arbitrary grounds. The arrests have come in the wake of a week of unrest, as thousands of workers in the Ashulia area of Dhaka went on strike to demand higher wages.
An international campaign convinced the Italian-owned factory Maglierie Cristian Impex in Romania to drop the trial against a Romanian investigative journalist for reporting on dire working conditions in one of the largest producers of garments in Romania. The factory employs around 900 people and produces for luxury brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Marco Polo and LaCoste, but also for high street fashion brands such as Zara and Bershka.
Last Friday 16th December the twelve workers accused as a consequence of the riot police intervention in a labour conflict in the Korean-owned SAE-A garment factory in Nicaragua in June, received their sentence. CCC continues to demand that all charges be dropped.
Clean Clothes Campaign, IndustriALL Global Union and the International Trade Union Confederation urge the European Union to adopt a roadmap for Sri Lanka with time-bound measures to comply with the ILO core conventions before the country can benefit from GSP+. Sri Lanka is currently in serious breach of those conventions.
Today four years ago, a fire broke out in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory in Bangladesh. Exits were closed, which meant that the women and men working inside were trapped and could only escape by jumping from upper floor windows. 113 workers died, many more were injured. They were stitching clothes for Walmart, El Corte Ingles, KiK, C&A and many more western brands.
Last night thirteen people who were arrested during the violent repression from riot police in the Korean owned company SAE-Technotex SA in June in Nicaragua were found guilty and face three years in prison. Monday the sentence will be announced.
An analysis published by labour rights organizations today reveals considerable delays in repairing safety defects in factories supplying member companies of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety. Even more concerning is the fact that the Alliance overstates progress: many of the factories listed as "on track" on the Alliance website still face major safety hazards. This means that hundred thousands of workers stitching clothes for Walmart, Gap, VF Corporation, Target and Hudson's Bay Company, and their European subsidiaries Asda (Walmart), Galeria Kaufhof and Galeria Inno (both HBC), continue to work in hazardous conditions. These brands, despite knowing about these risks for a considerable time, have failed to make sure these factories are safe.
Clean Clothes Campaign welcomes the attention received by the recent BBC Panorama investigation into the exploitation of Syrian refugees, including children, within the supply chains of major European clothing retailers. We are calling on the Turkish government, the European Union and all major clothing brands to make sure adequate protections are in place that guarantee full respect of the rights of Syrian workers that will continue to be employed in the production of our clothing.
We are calling for the release of Meng Han, Labour Rights Activist who was imprisoned by the Chinese government after his support for workers at a Chinese shoe factory led to a successful strike and negotiation with management. Brands sourcing from the Lide Shoe factory need to step in to ensure human rights are respected.
Update 12 Oct 2016: Today, four days prior to the Amsterdam marathon of which Mizuno is the main sponsor, Mizuno responded negatively to the request of Clean Clothes Campaign to meet the union and settle the case with the workers, instead referring to the Indonesian group Panarub claiming the case is closed. In light of Mizuno's refusal, CCC continues to mobilise their supporters to urge Mizuno to settle the case.
On 29th of September, H&M and WWF have launched a new collection of children’s clothing aimed at leading the way toward a more environmentally friendly garment industry. While H&M and WWF attempt to reduce water pollution and promote closed loop recycling management, core problems of their ‘fast fashion’ model are not addressed. H&M continues to pursue a business model that relies heavily on high sales volumes, rapid growth rates and overconsumption, and is therefore truly unsustainable at heart. The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) fears that the company is once again profiting from a marketing opportunity that will lead to little change for affected people and may mislead consumers.
Working conditions in garment factories in Cambodia supplying H&M are far from decent even in those that H&M considers to be «best in class». This is the conclusion of a report released by Cambodian NGO Center for Alliance of Labor & Human Rights (CENTRAL) and Future In Our Hands, which represents Clean Clothes Campaign in Norway. The report «When ‘best’ is far from good enough» is based on interviews with workers and describes labour rights violations in four of H&M’s key suppliers in Cambodia.
An agreement in excess of US$5 million has been reached to provide compensation for loss of income, medical and allied care as well as rehabilitation, to the victims of one of the worst industrial accidents in Pakistan. It results from the ILO facilitation and coordination of consultations during a recent mission to Pakistan from 25 July to 5 August.
Worker Rights Consortium, the International Labor Rights Forum, Clean Clothes Campaign, and the Maquila Solidarity Network respond to the explosion at the Tampaco Foils Factory in Bangladesh on 10 September 2016.