In this section you can find a collection of past posts and articles that can be searched using the search box on the right.
Officially, special economic zones were created as a way to provide jobs for Filipinos by using tax exemptions and other incentives to encourage foreign investors to invest in the Philippines. Unfortunately experience shows that foreign investors and the government are the only ones to benefit from these economic zones, not the workers.
We received the sad news yesterday of the sudden, unexpected death of Neil Kearney, General Secretary of the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation (ITGLWF). Neil died in his sleep of a massive heart attack early Thursday morning November 19 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Neil was 59.
An unprecedented agreement has been struck between Russell Athletic and the union representing 1,200 unjustly laid off workers at its former Jerzees de Honduras (JDH) factory. The company has agreed to open a new facility in the area, re-hire and provide substantial economic assistance to the former JDH workers, institute a joint union-management training program on freedom of association and commit to a position of neutrality with respect to unionization, which will open the door for union representation at all Fruit of the Loom facilities in Hondura.
A high-level International Labour Organization (ILO) Mission to the Philippines wrapped up on September 29, feeding hopes that international attention will help stem the tide of violence and intimidation that has been unleashed on Filipino trade union organizers and human rights advocates. The ILO Mission was charged with investigating the killings of 92 union leaders and activists since 2001.
Striking workers met by batons
The Government of the Philippines has finally agreed to allow a High-Level ILO Mission to visit the country and investigate extrajudicial killings of labour rights advocates.
Trade unions in the Philippines have been trying for two years to initiate an international investigation but had been blocked by government and employer delegations.
What do labour rights groups expect from retailers, manufacturers, and government?
The sweatshop is back. MSN argues that citizenship is more likely to get rid of it than shopping.
The garment industry is renowned for low wages, excessive overtime and poor working conditions. In spite of the fact that consumers are spending more and more on clothes, there are few signs of improvement for workers. In fact, the opposite is the case: downward pressure on wages means that many garment workers find their weekly wage packet is not enough to live on, in spite of the fact that they often work extremely long hours.
Many of us remember media exposes of young children sewing Nike soccer balls in Pakistani sweatshops for six cents an hour. The national and international media coverage of Nike's use of child labour focused world attention on sweatshop abuses in the garment and sports wear industries. Less well-known are the stories of teenage girls, oftentimes single mothers themselves, sewing clothes in maquiladora factories in Central America and Mexico for major North American retailers.
Even when retailers and brands have a decent code of conduct requiring their suppliers to meet international labour standards, their own purchasing practices can send contradictory messages to suppliers and undermine efforts to improve working conditions in their supply factories. Low prices paid to suppliers, footloose sourcing practices, and overly tight production timelines can all lead to labour rights abuses at the factory level.