News from 2012
Brands should help the victims. The brands should take swiftly a clear principle commitment on compensation, which needs to be negotiated with the trade unions representing the workers at Tazreen, and be based on international standards as well as established precedents and customs in Bangladesh. The international buyers from the Tazreen factory bear responsibility for full redress of the victims, which includes contribution to the loss of income and damages for the injured and families of the dead.
On the 24th November 2012, at least 112 workers died in the fire at Tazreen Fashions, a garment factory near Dhaka, Bangladesh. Many of the workers jumped to their deaths trying to escape from the nine story building. Others, unable to escape the blaze, were burned alive. Tazreen produced for a host of well known brand names, including C&A, KIK, Walmart, Li & Fung, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Disney, Dickies, Sean Comb (ENYCE) and Kmart/Sears.
Since May 2012, garment workers making clothing for Italian brand Original Marines at PT SC Enterprises have faced ongoing intimidation for their trade union activities. PT SC Enterprises is an Indonesian supplier located in Central Java exporting to the European market. Outwardly a green, “modern environmentally friendly garment factory”, conditions within the factory are grim, with low wages, long working hours and forced unpaid overtime. Workers are also highly insecure—out of 1,400 employees, 60% are on short-term contracts, 30% are casual and only 10% are permanent.
More than 5000 of you wrote on adidas' and Justin Bieber's Facebook wall to push them to pay the severance pay of the Kizone workers. Justin Bieber failed to respond, and adidas simply sent us a letter arguing that the workers were satisfied with the food vouchers they had been issued with.
This week Clean Clothes Campaigns in Spain, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and Austria organise candlelight vigils in front of C&A stores. The labour rights group calls upon C&A and other buyers from the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh to ensure compensation to the victims, take credible steps to prevent future tragedies in the industry and support a full and transparent investigation into the fires. C&A and Li&Fung have confirmed that they were sourcing from Tazreen at the time of the fire that caused the death of at least 112 workers, and injured more than 50. Other companies that confirmed sourcing from Tazreen in the past year include Spanish companies Sfera and Hipercor (subsidaries of El Corte Inglés) and the German discounter KIK.
Somyot, a Thai labour activist, human rights defender and magazine editor, has been in detention since April 2011, awaiting trial under the Thai lèse-majesté law* (Article 112) for the publication of two articles deemed insulting to the monarch. He faces up to 30 years in prison.
“Here in Thailand they know I get a lot of international support. Without that support I would maybe already be dead.”
Bangladeshi trade unions and international organizations are calling on all brands sourcing from the devastated Tazreen Fashions factory, which burnt down last weekend killing 112 workers, to provide emergency relief, medical costs and compensation to all those affected by the fire. They are also being asked, along with other key brands and stakeholders, to ensure an immediate and transparent investigation into the events surrounding the fire and to take urgent steps to prevent future tragedies in the industry.
More than one year of workers' struggle has not moved the company Mölnlycke Health Care (Thailand) Ltd., the Thai subsidiary of a Swedish multinational, to reinstate 22 union members that were unfairly dismissed in September 2011. The company produces hospital gowns for among others public health institutions in Sweden and Norway. Norwegian health institutions recently announced it would be particularly hard to sign a new contract with Mölnlycke given the company's continued refusal to reinstate the workers even after a national tripartite body ordered them to do so. Mölnlycke produces a wide range of other medical devices in several countries, including Indonesia, Belgium, Thailand, Malaysia, France, Poland and the Czech Republic.
US rapper and producer, Sean Combs, more commonly known as Puff Daddy or P Diddy, is called upon by campaigners to take action today after his ENYCE brand was linked a tragic fire which killed 120 Bangladeshi garment workers on Saturday. Labels from his ENYCE brand were found in the wreckage of the burnt out Tazreen Fashion garment factory by local activists.
The Clean Clothes Campaign, along with trade unions and labour rights organisations in Bangladesh and around the world is calling for immediate action from international brands following yesterday's fire in Dhaka Bangladesh, which cost the lives over one hundred garment workers.
The National Peoples’ Tribunal for living wages and decent working conditions of garment workers continued today at Kannada Sahitya Parishad, with much rigour and conviction with the participation of experts, union leaders, brand representatives and workers.
Garment workers alongside international brands and government representatives gave evidence at a tribunal which started in Bangalore this week to assess claims of systematic human rights abuses in the Indian garment industry. 250 garment workers from Bangalore, Gurgaon and Tirupur attended the tribunal, foregoing their daily wage and attendance bonus, to share testimonies of rights abuses and exploitation at the hands of western brands, surveyed by a panel of international judges.
Local trade unionists condemn GAP for refusing to attend.
It is with great shock and grief that Clean Clothes Campaign has learned of the sudden death of our dear friend and fellow activist Korshed Alam, Executive Director of Alternative Movement for Resources and Freedom Society (AMRF) in Bangladesh.
In November, our colleague Marcella Kraay visited Somyot in prison in Thailand.
Thousands of people from across the globe are leaving messages on adidas originals' Facebook page about adidas' failure to pay Indonesian workers US$1.8million severance pay.
An international call for action from the Clean Clothes Campaign last week led to protests in cities around the world. In Istanbul, Chiang Mai and Hong Kong workers protested against the failure of Esprit and its agent Li&Fung to pay €4.7 million Euro owed to more than 2000 people who became jobless after the factory closed. 'These actions are only the beginning of our campaign to make Esprit and Li & Fung pay up,' says Ineke Zeldenrust, International Coordinator at Clean Clothes Campaign.
This week, we join hands with our friends from Labour Behind The Label, SumOfUs, USAS, People and Planet, Ms Wanda, ILRF and many more to tell adidas to stop throwing around excuses. We want them to finally pay up the US$1.8 million of severance payments they owe the Kizone workers in Indonesia. The Kizone factory closed in April 2011, leaving 2,800 people out of work and without pay. It's time for a global Week of Action!
For over eight months groups of Hey Tekstil workers have protested in Istanbul for their unpaid wages, severance and other payments from Li & Fung, one of the world’s largest garment trading companies. Li & Fung was sourcing almost all of the production at Hey Tekstil for one brand: Esprit, when the workers were fired without pay.