Tell Disney, Starbucks and NBCUniversal there's no magic in poverty wages
For two years a group of Burmese migrant workers were illegally paid less than a dollar an hour, were forced to work unpaid overtime, and had their holiday pay withheld at the Kanlayani factory in Mae Sot, Thailand. Last year, in Sept 2019, the Kanlayani workers bravely spoke out to stop the labour abuses. A few weeks later, the factory suddenly closed after Starbucks cut orders, leaving the workers with nothing. The former Kanlayani workers have been fighting for justice ever since; demanding that they receive the money they are legally owed for making products for four major global companies: Disney, Starbucks, NBCUniversal and Tesco. Tesco has stepped up and made a commitment to contribute towards the amount the Kanlayani workers are owed. What are Disney, Starbucks, and NBCUniversal waiting for?
Speaking out together, we can make these brands act so that the former Kanlayani workers receive the money they are owed, collectively around $110,000 USD (approximately 100.000 EUR). This money means everything to these workers. Since the closure of the Kanlayani factory, they have been blacklisted for speaking out. The former Kanlayani workers barely have enough money for food, and have had to pick morning glory from the the side of the streets to have something to eat.
Tell Starbucks, Disney and NBCUniversal they have a responsibility to ensure workers’ rights are respected in their supply chains. They must ensure the Kanlayani workers receive all the money they are owed for making their products. The Mae Sot region of Thailand is known to be 'a black hole' in the Thai garment industry, where labour rights violations are common place, and factories routinely take advantage of visa dependent migrant workers. If the Kanlayani workers win, this can set an important precedent for the future – that brands can’t just walk away, proving the power of collective worker action and global solidarity to ensure justice, even in the darkest corners of the garment industry.