The Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) is a labour and women's rights organization that supports the efforts of workers in global supply chains to win improved wages and working conditions and a better quality of life. ( More)
A catastrophic factory fire at the Tazreen Fashion garment factory in Dhaka took the lives of over 112 workers on Saturday, November 24. What was reportedly an electrical malfunction appears to have been compounded by the factory’s lack of basic safety features like emergency exits, functioning fire extinguishers, and worker training.
Editorial: Public pressure or constructive engagement? | Gap pulls out of Bangladesh fire safety program | Pakistan’s fire tragedy | Honduras: Star management encourages threats of violence against union supporters | Haiti: We had to build a workers’ movement: An interview with Yannick Etienne | Acuña, Mexico: Fraud and harassment taint union representation vote | Shifting alliances in the Mexican labour law debate
Download Update 17.3 here.
The Mexican National Miners’ Union (Los Mineros) is challenging the results of a union representation election at the Finnish-owned PKC auto parts factory in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico. According to the official count, Los Mineros narrowly lost the vote – 2,311 to 2,509 – to a “protection union” affiliated with the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) that was supported by the employer.
Yannick Etiene is an organizer for the May First Union Federation and a member of the Haitian social movement Batay Ouvriye. MSN had the opportunity to speak with Yannick in Washington DC in October 2012.
When Canadian T-shirt manufacturer Gildan Activewear purchased Anvil Knitwear in May 2012, workers at Anvil’s unionized Star factory in El Progreso, Honduras were understandably worried about their job security. After all, Gildan was the same company that had closed a wholly-owned factory in El Progreso eight years earlier in order to avoid having to accept and negotiate with a union.
The death of more than 300 garment workers in a September 11 factory fire in Karachi, Pakistan has exposed the total failure of the provincial Ministry of Labour, the major buyer sourcing from the factory, and a US-based multi-stakeholder initiative to ensure respect for the country’s health and safety laws.
On October 2, after over a year of discussions with trade union and labour rights organizations, Gap Inc. announced that it is refusing to participate in a groundbreaking fire safety program for the garment industry in Bangladesh. Instead it decided to set up a separate program, accountable to no one – least of all worker representatives.
The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), IndustriALL Global Union, Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) and Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN), together with Bangladeshi trade unions and labour rights groups, have reached an agreement with Tchibo to implement a fire and building safety programme in Bangladeshi garment factories. The German-based company becomes the second retailer to commit to the groundbreaking safety programme, which was first agreed with PVH (owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger) in March. The program will get underway once two more major brands have signed on to the agreement.
The tortured body of Bangladeshi trade union organizer Aminul Islam was found by the side of the road on April 5 of this year, the tragic culmination of a history of attacks by Bangladeshi security forces on Aminul and the organizations in which he was involved.
Should adidas be held accountable when a factory that produced its apparel closes and the owner flees the country without providing workers their legal severance pay? Labour rights groups say yes. Adidas says no. Yet surprisingly, in a controversial closure in Indonesia, two other notable brands have broken ranks and contributed to paying the displaced workers.