Li & Fung, one of the largest apparel sourcing companies in the world, is refusing to pay 2.038 Hey Tekstil workers in Turkey 4.7 million EUR of overdue wages, severance, and notification payments. The conflict began in February 2012 when the last 420 of 3.000 workers from the Turkish apparel company Hey Tekstil Sanayi ve Ticaret L.Ş. were fired from the company’s Istanbul factory without notice. The workers got organized and decided to take action. At the time of the closure, workers were producing clothes for such brands as Esprit and Disney, which placed their orders through Li & Fung. For the last two years, Li & Fung had 80-90% of the production at Hey Tekstil factories, according to former Hey Tekstil representatives.
We urge you to support 420 struggling workers in Turkey who have been staging a picket line in front of Li & Fung for three months. These workers were employed by a company called Hey Tekstil. From November 2011 to February 2012, the company did not pay them for their last three months of work, fired them without notice, and subsequently failed to pay them their legally-mandated severance and notification payments.
This is the text of the urgent appeal and the background information, in Turkish
Hong Kong-based brand Esprit was a big buyer from the Hey Tekstil factory in the months before closure last February. An estimated 80-90% of the clothes made at Hey Tekstil in Turkey were for Esprit. Sacked workers are still waiting for back wages in the picket line in Istanbul.
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.
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.
The South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority, the largest public procurer in the health sector in Norway, publicly supports a number of dismissed Thai workers at Mölnlycke Health Care (Thailand) Ltd. The company which produces hospital gowns sacked 22 unionized workers in September 2011 following their participation in what the gown manufacturer describes as an 'illegal strike'.
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.
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.
CCC, together with Bangladeshi and international labour rights groups and trade unions, have signed an Memorandum of Understanding with the US based company PVH (owner of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein) to improve safety at their suppliers in Bangladesh.
CCC mourns the senseless deaths of at least 250 garment workers who perished in three factory fires in Pakistan and Russia this week.
Bangladeshi garment suppliers under independent building inspections
Gap Inc. has refused to participate in a comprehensive fire safety program, to which two other major apparel brands have already committed, to address the deadly working conditions at its supplier factories in Bangladesh.
Since 2006 at least 500 Bangladeshi garment workers have died in factory fires while sewing clothing for giant fashion companies, like Gap and H&M. Future tragic deaths could be prevented if companies like Gap would follow the lead of brands like Tommy Hilfiger and the German retailer Tchibo, by agreeing to a fire safety program that includes really independent inspections, mandatory repairs and renovations of safety hazards, a central role for workers and unions, transparency and binding commitments to protect workers.
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.
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.
Labor Rights Groups Urge US and European Governments to Press Apparel Brands and Retailers to Sign onto Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement
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.
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.