€4.7 million in overdue wages

Garment company Hey Tekstil did not pay its employees from November 2011 to February 2012, then fired them without notice and failed to pay them the severance payments required by law. The workers organised actions and picket lines for months to get what is owed to them by the company. A web appeal and solidarity actions targeting Esprit have been set up to support them.
“I'm just asking for the wages for the three months I was not paid, and legal severance pay. After all, it is rightfully due to me.”

Hey Tekstil worker Irfan Edemci

About 420 workers at Hey Tekstil's factory in Istanbul were asked to take three days off in February 2012. The management promised to pay them their wages upon their return to the factory. But the workers returned only to find the factory closed. In May 2012 five other HeyTekstil factories were permanently closed, leaving another 1,618 people jobless without notice.

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) contacted garment trading company Li & Fung from Hong Kong, who was buying from Hey Tekstil for Esprit, Esprit itself, and several other buyers. CCC also engaged with the Fair Labor Association, to which Hey Tekstil was a participating supplier, to seek a resolution to the case.

CCC launched a web appeal and international solidarity actions were held in Thailand, Hong Kong and the Netherlands. Esprit and Li&Fung both have codes of conduct that state wages and benefits should be paid in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Unfortunately, after eight months of actions by the workers and their supporters, the workers of Hey Tekstil still haven't received their overdue wages and severance payments.

See also:

Esprit and Li & Fung leave Hey Tekstil workers hanging
Hey Tekstil campaign in Turkish
Severance pay explained