More Updates

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.

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.

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 a corto plazo 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.

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.

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.

Timeline for the implementation of the labour reform in Mexico

Catching Up briefing papers:

Study compares minimum wages of maquila workers and basic food baskets

An October 2019 study (in Spanish only) by the Labour Research Team (EIL) reveals that the minimum wages for maquila workers in 3 of 4 Central American garment-producing countries are not sufficient to cover the cost of basic food products, let alone the cost of all basic goods and services needed to support a worker and her family.

Precedent-setting Agreements Reached in Lesotho on Gender-based Violence at Work

Photo: Workers Rights Consortium Sam Mokhele, General Secretary, NACTWU; Thusoana Ntlama, Program Coordinator, FIDA; May Rathakane, Deputy General Secretary, IDUL; Libakiso Matlho, National Director, WLSA; Daniel Maraisane, Deputy General Secretary, UNITE

On August 15, 2019, a number of complementary, legally binding agreements were signed to launch a pilot program aimed at eliminating sexual harassment and gender-based violence in five major garment and textile factories in the Southern African country of Lesotho.

Government updates Ombudsperson’s mandate, still fails to provide investigatory powers

In the final days prior to dropping the writ for the federal election, the Trudeau government published a revised mandate of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE). While making minor changes to the most highly criticized clauses, the revised mandate fails to provide the new office the investigatory powers it needs to hold Canadian mining, oil and gas, and garment companies accountable for human rights violations when conducting business abroad.

Honduran public health system is failing workers, says EMIH report

The Honduran Independent Monitoring Team’s (EMIH) latest Labour Justice Bulletin (in Spanish) highlights the variety of obstacles maquila workers face when seeking medical assistance for work related chronic pain caused by the repetitive and labour intensive nature of their work. The bulletin presents two first-hand accounts of the difficulties workers, and the general public face when navigating the public system.

New report calls for legally binding safety accord in Pakistan

Photo: IndustriALL

On September 11, 2012, a fire ripped through the Ali Enterprises garment factory in Karachi, Pakistan, killing more than 250 workers, who were unable to escape the building because the exit doors were locked and windows barred. A new report released on the 7th anniversary of the fire warns that garment factories in Pakistan remain just as unsafe today as they were then.

Companies and Brands: Leverage points with international apparel companies

MSN has launched a new research tool entitled Companies and Brands: Leverage points with international apparel companies. This comprehensive tool is designed to assist worker rights advocates in accessing detailed information about a company whose products are sourced from factories where labour rights violations have occurred. The research tool includes a seven-page chart that outlines six key leverage points about global garment companies and the brands that they own:

Wave of anti-government protests spreads in Honduras

Launched by teachers and health care professionals in response to two government decrees aimed at further privatization of the already deteriorating health and education systems, the protests were quickly joined by activists from other sectors. The Platform for the Defense of Health and Public Education, a coalition of union and community organizations formed in early May, has been playing an important coordinating role since April.   

Civil society, labour representatives resign from Canadian government’s corporate accountability multi-stakeholder body

News release from the Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability:
Ottawa, July 11, 2019 –Today all fourteen civil society and labour union representatives of the government’s Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Body on Responsible Business Conduct Abroad (Advisory Body) tendered their resignations. The unanimous decision to resign is due the erosion of civil society and labour unions’ trust and confidence in the government’s commitment to international corporate accountability.

The Bangladesh Accord continues to operate but its independence may be at risk

Photo: Kristof Vadino

By Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights Forum, Maquila Solidarity Network, and Worker Rights Consortium

As witness signatories to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, we are concerned about the potential negative impact on worker safety, both short-term and long-term, of the recently concluded Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Accord and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the diverging interpretations that have emerged over the last few weeks.[1]

Do Mexico’s labour law reforms live up to commitments in USMCA?

On May 1, 2019, Mexico published its long-awaited reformed Federal Labour Law, which the Morena government promises will guarantee the right of workers to be represented by a union of their free choice and to have an active role in collective bargaining.

The lack of freedom of association in Mexico has been a major obstacle in negotiations for a revised North American Free Trade Agreement (now known as USMCA or T-MEC).

The #SetThemFree campaign demands freedom for political prisoners in Nicaragua

On May 22, following the release of 100 Nicaraguan political prisoners, and reports that those in prison were subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment, the #SetThemFree Campaign put out a statement calling for the release of all remaining political prisoners.

The statement makes several demands including calling for an end to tortuous acts against those who remain in prison, and for a guarantee of the physical and psychological integrity of those released.

Questions raised about agreement on Bangladesh Accord

On May 19, 2019, the Appellate Court of the Bangladesh High Court accepted a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) reached earlier this month between the Bangladesh Accord Steering Committee and the Bangladesh employers’ association in the ready-made garment sector, BGMEA. The MoU stipulates that the Accord will continue to operate in Bangladesh for a transition period of 281 working days, during which time brands, unions and the BGMEA will establish a new institution called the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC), which will take over the Accord’s tasks in 2020.

Will the Accord be allowed to continue its life-saving work in Bangladesh?

Clean Clothes Campaign

Today marks the 6th anniversary of the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, which killed more than 1,100 garment workers and injured over 2,000 others. One positive outcome of this preventable tragedy was the creation of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which provides for independent factory safety inspections, transparent remediation of factory safety hazards, an anonymous complaints process, and health and safety training for workers.

Pages