More Updates

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.

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:

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.

Mexican artist Isabel Cabanillas de la Torre killed in Ciudad Juarez

Protests across the Mexico-U.S. border have been sparked by the murder of Isabel Cabanillas de la Torre, a Mexican artist and member of Hijas de su Maquilera Madre, a feminist collective fighting against femicide, some of whose members include the daughters of women maquila workers who were among the first victims of femicide in Ciudad Juarez. 

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.

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.

Original Timeline for the implementation of the labour reform in Mexico (2019-2023)

On April 29, 2019 the Mexican congress approved a comprehensive labour justice reform that directly impacts workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. In this resource MSN provides a timeline for the implementation of the reform highlighting important landmarks throughout the 2019-2023 period.

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.

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.

“Overworked & exposed” report highlights the perils of short-term contracts in Cambodia and Myanmar

A recent report co-authored by the Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (Central), Cambodia; Action Labor Rights (ALR), Myanmar; and Future In Our Hands, Norway highlights the pervasiveness of short-term contracts and gender-based discrimination in the garment industry in Cambodia and Myanmar. Through in-depth interviews and group discussions with workers, the report presents the working conditions of female workers with consistent issues of sexual harassment, excessive overtime, personal safety and lack of access to basic labour rights.

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.

IACHR expresses concern for ongoing repression in Nicaragua

On April 5, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) released a statement on the continuing crisis in Nicaragua, condemning the persistence of arbitrary arrests, aggression toward people deprived of their liberty, the refusal to reestablish several organizations’ legal status, and the prevention of social protest – all of which are taking place alongside the negotiations between the government and the Civil Alliance for Justice and Democracy.

Legal analysis of 2018 Salvadoran workplace childcare law

On May 31, 2018, the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly ratified the Special Law for the Regulation and Installation of Nurseries for Workers’ Children. During an August 2018 roundtable, management representatives from Salvadoran maquila factories requested more detailed analysis on the implications of the new law for employers. In response, the Coalition for Decent Work for Women (CEDM) and the Americas Group (AG) contracted Ena Nuñez, an independent legal consultant and expert on labour issues, to prepare this document.

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