Do you support boycotts of factories?

published 17-01-2013 13:50, last modified 25-04-2013 14:33
In one word: No. There are some exceptions, but in general we want a long-term solution to the problem, which will improve the lives of the workers.


One of the worst things that can happen when labour rights violations are discovered is for a company to ‘cut and run’ - to abruptly stop supplying from a factory or a country and put workers jobs at risk. We encourage brands and retailers to engage with their suppliers in a way that doesn’t put intolerable pressure on workers to deliver clothes faster, cheaper, and under poor working conditions.

We want to see long-term, stable business relationships between buyers and suppliers. This will give factory managers the time and support needed to improve working conditions, and it will give garment workers more job security and decent work, including the opportunity to organise and negotiate for better conditions.

In very specific situations, and only after exhausting all other possibilities, we may ask a company to inform a supplier that it will no longer buy there unless labour conditions improve immediately. We expect such a withdrawal to be done in a responsible manner that minimises the impact on workers at the factory. For example, we would ask buyers to divert orders to a nearby factory that is willing to provide decent work and to give priority hiring to workers from the problem factory.

If there is a widely supported call from a particular country for a boycott to promote human and labour rights there, the Clean Clothes Campaign will respect this. For example, in 2001 the exiled Federation of Trade Unions - Burma (FTUB), together with a significant segment of Burmese society, called for support in their campaign to demand that Triumph International, a Swiss-based retailer of lingerie, pull out of Burma. The campaign was successful and in 2002 Triumph announced its withdrawal from the country.