More Updates

Fighting COVID and defending workers’ rights in Northern Mexico

Workers at CFO's garment manufacturing co-operative Maquiladora Justicia y Dignidad (Photo: CFO)

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Mexico hard. As of mid-November, the country has almost one million confirmed positive cases and over 95,000 official deaths. Since the pandemic started, maquila factories in the northern states experienced waves of infections among workers, with little protection provided by factory owners and management.

Global week of action calling on Primark, H&M and Nike to pay their workers

When global garment and footwear brands first responded to the pandemic by cancelling orders already placed with factories, workers across the globe bore the brunt through unpaid wages, pay reductions, and mass dismissals. Workers are owed between US$3.19 and $5.79 billion for the first three weeks of the pandemic alone. In response, since March, workers have been taking to the streets in protest and to demand what they are legally owed.

Global network of labour rights and union organizations calls on brands to guarantee garment workers receive full pay

On June 1, the Clean Clothes Campaign, in which MSN is an active member, launched a campaign calling on global garment and footwear brands to guarantee workers in their supply chains are paid their full salaries during the COVID crisis. The wage payment demand is central to the global network's broader call that brands, retailers, governments and other stakeholders work together to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers and, moving forward, to ensure that workers receive living wages and a social safety net.

Garment workers on poverty pay are left without billions of their wages during pandemic

Image: Clean Clothes Campaign

Millions of garment workers around the world have not received their regular wages, or have not been paid at all since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, reveals a new report launched today by Clean Clothes Campaign.

The report, "Un(der)paid in the pandemic,” analyzes nonpayment and underpayment of wages to garment workers during the months of March, April and May resulting from order cancellations by apparel brands, unpaid leave imposed on workers by employers, and state-sanctioned wage cuts during the Covid-19 crisis.

Catching Up on the Labour Reform

With the passage of long-awaited reforms to Mexico’s Federal Labour Law on April 29, 2019, the country has entered a new era of labour relations. MSN's Catching Up series examines key issues and developments in the labour reform process, and their impacts on the right of workers to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Catching Up briefing papers:

Publications on Mexico’s ongoing constitutional reform to the labour justice system

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.

Day of Action: Stop union busting (CCC and IndustriALL)

Photo: National Garment Workers Federation in Bangladesh (Clean Clothes Campaign)

We stand in solidarity with garment workers around the world to demand that global brands take immediate action to stop union busting in their supplier factories. 

Today, the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) global network, in which MSN is an active member, is supporting IndustriALL Global Union’s call for a Global Day of Action against union busting in the garment industry. The Covid-19 pandemic has provided management at garment factories around the world with an excuse to dismiss union leaders and members and close unionized factories.  

Myanmar: Precedent-setting Victories against Union-Busting

Photo: Clean Clothes Campaign

In a tremendous precedent-setting victory, the union at the Rui-Ning factory in Myanmar has signed an agreement with factory management and the global brand Inditex (Zara) to reinstate the union president and, once the factory resumes hiring, other dismissed union members. This win follows a three and a half months long struggle sparked in early April by the dismissal of 324 workers, of which 298 were union members.  

180+ Orgs Demand Apparel Brands End Complicity in Uyghur Forced Labour

Today, 72 Uyghur rights groups are joined by over 100 other civil society organisations and labour unions from around the world in calling on apparel brands and retailers to stop using forced labour in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (“Uyghur Region”), known to local people as East Turkistan. The signatory organizations, including MSN, are urging brands and retailers to end their complicity in the Chinese government’s human rights abuses.

UPDATE: Labour activist Susana Prieto Terrazas released

After nearly a month in jail, prominent Mexican labour lawyer and worker rights activist, Susana Prieto Terrazas, was released on July 1, the official start date of the new trade deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico. As a condition of her release, the judge ordered her to pay 66,000 pesos (US$2911) for alleged damages, reside in her home state of Chihuahua and not travel to Tamaulipas state, and refrain from travelling abroad. Susana has appealed those conditions.

The effects of COVID-19 on maquila workers

A new document, written by Cirila Quintero Ramírez, MSN ally working out of the Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Matamoros, analyzes the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on maquila workers in the north of Mexico. The document is part of a broader political analysis piece entitled, “COVID-19 and the northeastern border: early impacts on migration, public policy and populations.”

Remembering the Rana Plaza tragedy and supporting workers' rights during the Pandemic

Image: Clean Clothes Campaign

Today, on the seventh anniversary of the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, MSN joins with the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) global network in remembering the 1,134 garment workers who were killed and all their family members and others affected by this preventable tragedy.

COVID-19: Call to Action a First Step toward Mitigating Impact of Pandemic on Workers

Image: Kalpona Akter, Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity

On April 22, the International Organization of Employers (IOE), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Global Unions announced a joint call to action by garment industry employer and worker organizations, major garment brands and retailers aimed at mitigating the catastrophic impact that the Covid-19 pandemic is having on the heath and livelihoods of workers in the global garment industry. COVID-19: Action in the Global Garment Industry sets out urgent priorities and includes some general commitments from brands and retailers.

¡Reyna Presente!

On April 3, 2020, Mexican maquila workers lost an indefatigable champion of their labour and human rights, Reyna Ramírez Sánchez. Reyna was a much loved and respected long-term MSN friend and ally, whose tenacity, creativity and fervour for justice left an impact on all who worked with her, and will be sorely missed.

¡Reyna Presente!

On April 3, 2020, Mexican maquila workers lost an indefatigable champion of their labour and human rights, Reyna Ramírez Sánchez. Reyna was a much loved and respected long-term MSN friend and ally, whose tenacity, creativity and fervour for justice left an impact on all who worked with her, and will be sorely missed.

Demandas por el COVID-19 en defensa de trabajadoras(es) de la confección en las cadenas globales de aprovisionamiento

La red global de la Campaña Ropa Limpia (CCC) ha elaborado una serie de demandas a las marcas, tiendas, tiendas por internet y gobiernos para mitigar los efectos de la crisis en las cadenas globales de aprovisionamiento causada por el COVID-19 y para crear sistemas más fuertes que funcionen para las trabajadoras(es) en el futuro.

Brands and retailers need to step up now to protect garment workers

Image: CCC

MSN is joining with other organizations in the world-wide Clean Clothes Campaign network in calling for action from brands, retailers, governments and other stakeholders to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those most exploited in global supply chains and to build towards a future in which workers have access to living wages and a social safety net.

Labour and Human Rights Groups Urge Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives and Business Associations in the Apparel Sector to Adopt Transparency Requirements (March 2019)

Author: Clean Clothes Campaign, Human Rights Watch, IndustriALL, International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, International Labor Rights Forum, International Trade Union Confederation, Maquila Solidarity Network, UNI Global Union, Worker Rights Consortium

IWD: Tens of Thousands of Mexican women take part in one-day strike against femicide

Photo: Carmen Valadez from Tijuana
Home page photo: Frente Feminista Nacional


On Sunday, March 8th, women around the world took to the streets to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) and demand the end of gender-based violence and discrimination. Throughout Latin America, women’s movements organized massive protests on March 8 and one-day strikes on Monday, March 9.  

Brands still refusing to compensate workers abandoned in 2018 LD factory closure

Two years after the LD garment factory in El Salvador closed unexpectedly, the 824 workers who lost their jobs are still waiting to be paid the remaining US$1.7 million they are legally owed in outstanding severance.

While a partial payment of US$600,000, was paid by Global Brands Groups (GBG), the intermediary who placed the orders with LD for Levi’s, Ralph Lauren, Walmart, and PVH, owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, workers’ and labour rights organizations’ demands for full payment of the outstanding debt have been unmet.

Labour rights groups demand brand accountability for deadly factory fire in India

Photo: CCC

On February 8, a fire broke out in the Nandan Denim factory in Ahmedabad, India. Severe security defects left workers scrambling to escape through the only available exit, a ladder leading to the outside, once again drawing attention to serious fire and safety concerns of Indian garment industry.

Labour organizations are calling for compensation for the families of the killed workers and workers in terms of income loss and medical costs, which is a stipulation of ILO Convention 121 on employment injury benefits.

Brands and civil society groups raise concerns over changes to Cambodia’s trade union law

Two separate joint letters have been sent by international civil society organizations and global apparel and footwear brands to Cambodian Prime Minister, Samdech Hun Sen, expressing their concerns regarding recent amendments to the country’s Law on Trade Unions, which were approved by the Cambodian Senate in early December 2019.

The first letter, dated December 18, 2019, was co-signed by 36 Cambodian and international civil society organizations, including MSN, and the second by 23 global brands and multi-stakeholder organizations with an interest in Cambodia.