More Updates

May 2018 bi-national childcare forum in El Salvador

Over 90 participants came together on May 23, 2018 in San Salvador, El Salvador, for a bi-national forum on the advantages and disadvantages for maquila workers of workplace, community, and home-based childcare options in Central America and internationally. Representatives came from 38 supplier factories in Honduras and El Salvador; 27 union, women’s and other non-governmental organizations, 13 international brands and manufacturers; and two industry associations.

Brands urged to support a living wage for Bangladeshi garment workers

Public rally in support of the 16,000 taka minimum wage demand (Photo: Taslima Akhter)

Inditex (owner of Zara) has become the first major apparel brand to respond positively to a joint request from the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), International Labor Rights Forum, and Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) to publicly support Bangladeshi garment workers’ demands for a significant increase in the country’s minimum wage.

Childcare in Central America: Legal Requirements and International Conventions (May 2018)

This educational resource compares childcare laws and regulations in four garment-producing Central American countries and profiles relevant international conventions on childcare. It was prepared by MSN for Central American women’s, trade union and labour rights organizations, as well as international apparel brands that participate in the Americas Group, a multi-stakeholder forum involving brands and manufacturers, the Global Union IndustriALL, the Fair Labor Association, and MSN.  

Debate on Mexican Labour Justice Reform Continues as Counter-Reform Bill Suspended

Today, MSN published its latest Update on the ongoing debate in Mexico concerning the implementing legislation for the Constitutional Reform to the country’s labour justice system.

The May 2018 Update deciphers a complicated series of events that led to the temporary suspension of a counter-reform bill that would have undercut, if not totally negated, the spirit and intent of the February 2017 Constitutional Reform.

On the 5th Anniversary of Rana Plaza, tell brands to sign the renewed Accord

Photo credit: AFL-CIO Solidarity Center

Today marks the five-year anniversary of the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza building that took the lives of 1,134 garment workers and seriously injured over 2,500. It is now widely known that workers who reported for work that morning did not want to enter the building because they knew it was unsafe were told by managers that they had to go to work in order to meet order deadlines of the international brands.

Will Mexico make good on promise of labour justice reform? (March 2018)

MSN has been working with our allies in Mexico to monitor developments related to the Mexican government’s February 2017 Constitutional Reform to the labour justice system and to encourage discussion and debate about the reforms and their implementation, as well as the implications they have for workers and employers.

With 100 days left in mandate of Bangladesh Accord, brands urged to sign renewed Accord (Febrero 2018)

Photo: IndustriALL

As the end of the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety’s mandate draws near, with only 100 days remaining, brands and retailers are being urged to sign the renewed Accord for three more years.

The global union signatories to the Accord, IndustriALL and UNI, and the four witness signatories, Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights Forum, Maquila Solidarity Network and Worker Rights Consortium, are calling on the garment companies that have not yet signed the renewed 2018 Accord to do so as soon as possible.

International brand to pay $2.3 million to fix safety hazards in Bangladesh factories (January 2018)

Global Unions IndustriALL and UNI have reached an historic US$2.3 million settlement in an arbitration case against an international brand for failing to meet its health and safety obligations under the legally binding Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.

The brand, whose name was not disclosed under the terms of the settlement, will pay $2 million to fix safety hazards in over 200 Bangladeshi supplier factories and contribute $300,000 to a Supply Chain Worker Support Fund managed by the two Global Unions.

Will proposed bill undermine Mexico’s labour justice reform? (December 2017)

On December 7, two senators from Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) submitted a bill to the Senate that, if approved, would undermine, if not nullify, the most important advances in the country’s Constitutional Reform to the labour justice system that became law only 10 months earlier.

Murders at Canadian mine expose lack of labour rights in Mexico (November 2017)

Striking workers (Photo: IndustriALL)

The assassination of two brothers, Victor and Marcelino Shaunitla Peña, has shone a spotlight on Mexico’s corrupt and anti-democratic labour relations system. The brothers were participating in a work stoppage by mineworkers with the support of community members against the Canadian-owned Media Luna gold mine in Azcala, Guerrero. The murders happened just as NAFTA negotiations were resuming in Mexico City.

MSN joins call for action on 5th anniversary of Tazreen factory fire (November 2017)

Canadian union delegation to Bangladesh with Kalpona Akter from the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) looking up at the remains of the Tazreen building (2016)

On the 5th anniversary of the Tazreen factory fire, MSN joins with our colleagues in the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) in calling for a bridging solution until Employment Injury Insurance is available to all workers in the Bangladesh garment industry.

Assessing Childcare Needs of Maquila Workers

Over the past year, MSN has been working with coalitions of women’s and trade union organizations in El Salvador and Honduras on the right of working parents in the maquila sector to access quality affordable childcare for.

As part of that effort, MSN has been facilitating dialogue on the issue between the local organizations and international brands that are part of the multi-stakeholder Americas Group and whose products are made in one or both countries.

Mexicans Mobilize to Aid Victims of September 19th Earthquake

Shortly after a devastating earthquake hit Mexico on September 19, MSN received several phone calls and emails from friends and supporters concerned about the safety of members of our staff who were meeting in Mexico City on that day.

We are writing to provide an update on what we experienced, witnessed and learned regarding the impact of the earthquake on people in Mexico City, Morelos and Puebla and the courageous response of thousands of volunteers to this tragedy.

Legal Analysis of the Right to Childcare for Workers in Honduras (June 2017)

Honduras has the most extensive legal framework on childcare for working parents in Central America, setting out the responsibilities of both employers and the state to provide and monitor childcare services for workers.

However, employers in the maquila sector have attempted to use differences in various laws and regulations to argue that employers have no legal responsibility to provide or pay for workplace childcare.

Joint letter from 14 clothing brands supporting labour justice reform in Mexico (July 2017)

On July 28, 2017, 14 international clothing brands and the Fair Labor Association (FLA) released a joint letter to the Mexican government declaring their support for a Constitutional Reform to Mexico’s labour justice system that could better protect workers’ right to freedom of association and to bargain collectively.

14 clothing brands release joint letter supporting labour justice reform in Mexico

On July 28, 2017, 14 international clothing brands and the Fair Labor Association (FLA) released a joint letter to the Mexican government declaring their support for a Constitutional Reform to Mexico’s labour justice system that could better protect workers’ right to freedom of association and to bargain collectively.

Briefing Paper: Will Mexico’s labour justice reform remove barriers to workers’ rights? (July 2017)

Today, MSN released a Briefing Paper entitled Labour Justice Reform in Mexico.

Based on MSN’s own research and in-depth interviews with 16 Mexican and international labour rights experts, the paper analyzes the Mexican government’s  February 2017 reform to the country’s Constitution, which promises to provide better protections for the rights of workers to be represented by a union of their free choice and to bargain collectively.

Agreement reached to release imprisoned Bangladeshi union leaders, but crisis not fully resolved

Photo: IndustriALL

On February 23, Bangladeshi unions affiliated with IndustriALL Bangladesh Council reached an agreement with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Ministry of Labour for the release on bail of the remaining union leaders still imprisoned for their alleged association with a wage strike in December 2016.

Pressure mounts for end to anti-union repression in Bangladesh

The Clean Clothes Campaign and International Labor Rights Forum announced today that because of continuing anti-union repression in Bangladesh, five major apparel brands – H&M, Inditex (Zara), C&A, NEXT and Tchibo – and the UK’s Ethical Trading Initiative have pulled out of the February 25 Dhaka Apparel Summit, which will be hosted by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

Brands must intervene to win release of imprisoned labour leaders in Bangladesh

Twenty-two human and labour rights organizations from around the world are calling on international apparel brands to press for the release of unjustly imprisoned Bangladeshi union leaders and worker rights advocates and the reinstatement of 1,500 workers suspended or terminated for taking part in a wage strike.

Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety overstates progress; workers’ lives at risk

More than three and a half years after 1,134 workers died in the Rana Plaza building collapse, major apparel brands and retailers that are members of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, including Walmart, Gap, Target, VF Corporation, and Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Company, are way behind in ensuring that their Bangladesh supplier factories are safe, says a new report from four labour rights organizations.

Scenarios

This workshop uses six scenarios based on real problems that workers and the organizations defending their rights face in factories. The goal is to develop participants’ capacity to decide when and how to engage with clothing brands. To read the scenarios presented to participants, click here:

Exercise One

Brands and Labour Rights: How and when to engage with brands (2016)

Module and Reference Materials

The workshop Brands and Labour Rights: When and How to Engage with Brands was designed by Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) as a tool for use by women’s and trade union organizations in Central America and Mexico in their work to pressure apparel brands to take action to achieve greater respect for labour rights in their supplier factories in the region.

MSN condemns assassination of Guatemalan union leader (July 2016)

Photo: Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Mujeres Defensoras de Derechos Humanos/Solidarity Center

The Maquila Solidarity Network joins labour, human rights, women’s organizations in Guatemala and internationally in strongly condemning the murder of Guatemalan labour leader Brenda Marleni Estrada Tambito, and calls on the Guatemalan government to launch an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into her assassination, bring those responsible to justice, and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of members of her family.

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