Esprit and Li & Fung leave Hey Tekstil workers hanging

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.

Ineke Zeldenrust, campaigner at CCC International Secretariat said “it is time for Li & Fung and Esprit to come to the table with Hey Tekstil workers and the company. This is a case of gross negligence: these companies failed to act when Hey first started violating the law and their own codes of conduct, and now after eight months of fighting Hey Tekstil workers are unable to send their children to school or buy daily medications. We have implored every stakeholder to take action. There are no more excuses.”

Force Esprit and Li & Fung to the table

Esprit and Li & Fung made a humiliating offer of 'legal assistance' to workers who they know already have taken legal action themselves. This offer is shamefully inadequate and they must take substantive action now in Turkey and negotiate a serious and final deal. This is the only ethically end Hey Tekstil workers’ eighth-month battle for dignity.

Workers producing Esprit clothes at the Hey Tekstil factory in Turkey

Gullu Ilk has two children of 14 and 16 years old. She has begun to work as a day labourer since Hey Tekstil’s bankruptcy, and Gullu is disabled, which will likely prevent her from finding another job with insurance before retirement age. She is owed 3 months salary, severance and other benefits. She said “I worked at a place who produced for famous brands. Now the brands should pay these salaries.”

Tell Esprit and Li & Fung to sit down at the table and end this ordeal for workers like Gullu and Murtaza!

Murtaza Koseoglu worked nine years at the factory. He supports his two children, his wife, and his 87-year-old mother.  He said: 'I am here for 8 months because I worked for so many years for these brands. It feels impossible, but for the future of my wife and two children this is a necessity. I have health problems, debts to the banks and grocery store. I must be here. Soon I won’t be pay for my diabetes medication out of my pocket, because I’ve lost my social insurance.'

Make Esprit and Li & Fung feel the heat: tell them to pay up now!

To: Mr. Jose Martinez
CEO, Esprit
To: Mrs. Tanya Todd
COO, Esprit
To: Ms. Harsh Saini
Senior Vice President, Li & Fung Trading Co.

Dear Mr. Martinez, Mrs. Todd and Ms. Harsh Saini,

I have been informed by Clean Clothes Campaign about the desperate situation of Hey Tekstil workers. I demand Esprit and Li & Fung take responsibility and immediately take action to deliver justice to Hey Tekstil. This is the only way this ordeal will end fairly and ethically.

I will not accept a situation where Esprit claims it have no responsibility for workers who produced your label. There are no more excuses and there is no more time to waste.

I call upon Esprit and your agent Li & Fung to immediately negotiate with the workers in good faith, and come to an agreement and scheduled payments which are far overdue.