Workers producing clothes for Wal-Mart at the Korean-owned Chong Won Fashion garment factory in the Philippines went on strike to end the employers' attempt to destroy their union through violence, mass firings and intimidation. The employer responded by shutting down the factory.
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.
Can CSR ratings help improve labour practices in global supply chains?, a new paper published by the Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) and the Project on Organizing, Development, Education and Research (PODER), examines the potential of rating systems to drive improvements in supply chain labour practices. Through interviews with CSR experts, representatives from companies like Levi's, Gap and others that have been rated on supply chain labour issues, labour rights advocacy groups, and rating system developers, the paper highlights some key challenges facing rating systems and how some rating systems have tried to overcome, or at least minimize, those challenges.
At least 28 more Bangladeshi garment workers have died and dozens more were injured after a fire broke out December 14, at a factory 16 miles from the capital Dhaka. Several workers appeared to have suffocated, while others jumped to their deaths trying to escape the burning building or were trampled by their colleagues as they rushed towards the exits.
A new report by MSN and Red Puentes Mexico examining Wal-Mart Mexico's (Walmex) CSR reporting, finds weaknesses in the company's reporting and practices, particularly in the areas of labour rights and the environment. "Walmex needs to better address underlying policy issues such as the presence of protection contracts in most of its retail outlets, its treatment of over 23,000 "volunteer" youth baggers and the lack of consultation with civil society stakeholders on social and environmental issues," says Beatriz Lujan, of the Authentic Labour Front, a member organization of Red Puentes Mexico.
MSN Codes Memo #22
Is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting measuring the right things? How can stakeholders assess whether a company’s business practices bear any relation to its CSR principles and objectives?
Send a letter to Wal-Mart today, urging the world's largest and most powerful retailer to use its considerable influence to put a stop to blatant and serious violations of workers' rights at the Chong Won supply factory in the Philippines. To send a letter immediately, click here.
The Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) released the results of an independent investigation of the Chong Won Fashion Inc. factory in the Philippines on February 21, 2007. On March 26, 2007, Wal-Mart released a synopsis of a report by the US monitoring organization Verité. Both reports confirmed serious abuses of worker rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining at the factory.
Three months after receiving reports of serious worker rights abuses and police violence against protesting workers at its Chong Won Fashion supply factory in the Philippines, Wal-Mart is still delaying taking the necessary steps to fix the problem. Take action now.
At MSN's request, seven major US apparel companies have added their names to a joint letter to the Philippine government, raising concerns about the alleged violent attacks on workers and human rights promoters in the Cavite Export Processing Zone. Read the letter here.