News Improving working conditions in the global garment industry https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news Wed, 09 Dec 2015 11:52:01 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Give adidas the boot! Join the Footlocker day of action 22 April https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/footlocker-give-adidas-the-boot https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/footlocker-give-adidas-the-boot On 22nd April, join anti-sweatshop activists from around the world at Footlocker stores across Europe and the US to call on them to drop adidas from their stores until they pay ex-PT Kizone workers the $1.8million they are owed in unpaid severance. This will mark the beginning of a week of action in the UK that will ramp up the pressure on the UK’s biggest retailer of adidas footwear.

Footlocker represents a key source of profit for adidas internationally and, as one of adidas’ biggest retailers, they could play a huge role in getting them to pay up, so we’re demanding they stand up and call on adidas to ensure these workers are paid what they are owed.

Join the Footlocker International Day of Action on 22nd April, take action another day that week in the UK, or if you really love workers, every day that week in the UK. To find out where the action is and how you can join, look here. There's also some great action at the Kalverstraat in Amsterdam.

And if you can't come along at all (or even if you can) then join us virtually by taking part in our Thunderclap action. This will help us get the message out by highlighting the campaign on hundreds of facebook and twitter pages, coinciding with the  shop actions taking place on the 22nd April.

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mirjam@cleanclothes.org (Mirjam van Heugten) News Fri, 19 Apr 2013 09:46:51 +0000
Historic win for Cambodian workers. https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/kingsland-victory https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/kingsland-victory kingsland1

Workers from the Kingsland factory in Cambodia have won an historic settlement after months of protest over unpaid wages.

Walmart & H&M suppliers have agreed to a settlement of US$205,000 for around 160 workers who were left with unpaid wages and no severance pay when factory owners shut the doors late last year.

“When we heard the news, we all shouted.  We were so happy.” Or Sokuong, one of the workers who have been camping outside the factory since the 3 January to prevent the factory owners selling the machinery or other assets until they were fully paid in accordance with Cambodian law.  “We have power again knowing we will get our salary and benefits after working here so many years.”

It is the first time in Cambodia brands and their suppliers have sat down to reach an agreement with workers and their representatives. A committee including workers, their representatives, brands, suppliers and the government will agree the distribution, and the payment will be distributed to workers within 2 weeks.

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paul@cleanclothes.org (Paul Roeland) News Mon, 04 Mar 2013 09:02:35 +0000
Clean Clothes Campaign is moving! https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/clean-clothes-campaign-is-moving https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/clean-clothes-campaign-is-moving VERHUIS

As of February, CCC will be moving into a new office space.

Please be aware that we will be packing on Tuesday, February 19 and moving on Wednesday, February 20 and Thursday, February 21.

It may take us an extra day or two to answer inquiries during this week, as we settle into the new space.

On Wednesday, February 20 we will probably be hard to reach by telephone, and e-mail to us might take longer than expected.

 

Our websites stays in the air, so we will remain accessible as always.

 

Postbus 11584
1001 GN Amsterdam
the Netherlands
T: +31-20-412-27-85
F: +31-20-412-27-86
www.cleanclothes.org

 

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paul@cleanclothes.org (Paul Roeland) News Tue, 12 Feb 2013 14:34:42 +0000
H&M dismisses call-for-help Kingsland workers https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/ham-dismisses-call-for-help-kingsland-workers https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/ham-dismisses-call-for-help-kingsland-workers protest 08022013

One month after garment workers from the closed Kingsland factory started a vigil they are still out on the streets. Today they called at H&M and the Swedish Embassy in Cambodia.

In an attempt to draw H&M’s attention to their grim situation, around seventy workers went to the Phnom Penh Tower this morning - the building in which both the H&M office and Swedish Embassy are located. The workers demanded that the Swedish Embassy support the case and that H&M ensure payment from Kingsland’s owner - or if the circumstances require it - from the brands that sourced from the factory. Staff from the Embassy arrived to accept a petition.

H&M’s local representative, Mr. Basirun Nabi circled the group before approaching a workers’ representative. He requested that local media cease filming the exchange, but assured that the document would make its way to the H&M head office.

A letter was passed on for H&Ms CEO Karl-Johan Persson. Worker’s message to the head of the giant retailer is honest and straight forward: ‘We worked very long hours to avoid insults from supervisors and to get your orders ready in time. Now that we’ve lost our jobs we are broke and some have already lost their homes. H&M says that our work is “unauthorized production”, but we were working for H&M and want you to take responsibility for the situation.'

After a number of temporary suspension orders, Kingsland Garment Cambodia Ltd closed in December last year. All the workers lost their jobs. The factory owes the workers hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and benefits.

Since the 3rd of January workers from Kingsland have maintained a camp in front of the factory to hinder managers, if they return, from taking machinery and equipment out of the production unit.

Most of the workers are female, some of them working at the factory since 1997. Some of them are pregnant or elderly and cannot afford enough food or water. During the night, drunk men approach the group, trying to sleep next to them. The women say they are scared and do not get much sleep. Instead of receiving legal severance and indemnity for their years of service, they are now broke and in debt. In spite of the noise and the stony pavement, they return and will stay put until H&M steps in to help.

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mirjam@cleanclothes.org (Mirjam van Heugten) News Fri, 08 Feb 2013 14:18:58 +0000
Workers left homeless and unpaid after factory closure https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/workers-left-homeless-and-unpaid-after-factory-closure https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/workers-left-homeless-and-unpaid-after-factory-closure kingsland-web

Workers at a Cambodian underwear factory supplying H&M and Walmart are keeping a 24-hour vigil outside their factory after managers shut up shop and fled, owing hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and benefits. Workers from Kingsland Garment are maintaining a camp in front of the factory in hopes of catching managers if they return to take machinery and equipment out of the factory.

After the factory abruptly closed in December, many of the workers were evicted from their homes because they could not pay their rent.
The workers encamped outside say they are owed a combined $200,000. Cambodian law requires a certain amount of severance for workers based on the number of years each has worked at the factory, but Kingsland – the Hong Kong-based owner company - is currently offering less than half.

Workers believe that the factory closed with plans to reopen once it has shed long-time employees who have seniority and benefits. They say the new factory will be similar to other Walmart or H&M suppliers that rely on temporary workers who will work on 3-month, short-term contracts. Such a scheme will prevent workers from forming a union or having any job security.

The factory has been bereft of an independent union since representatives from what is now the Cambodia Confederation of Apparel Workers Democratic Unions (C.CAWDU) were fired or beaten in incidents in 2007 and 2008.

The international labour rights community, including Clean Clothes Campaign, have issued a statement -signed by 17 organisations from across Asia, Europe and the US - in support of Kingsland workers. It is calling on Walmart and H&M to ensure that Kingsland owners pay all wages and indemnity and comply fully with Cambodian Labor Law.

The statement also calls for immediate and transparent investigations to be carried out by Walmart and H&M, and strongly urges the Ministry of Labor to independently consider a further complaint regarding the closure of the factory.

Worker voices

 

  • Sor Sokty
    25-years-old, Worked at the factory for 5 years
    “It’s been so difficult to feed my family. I can’t afford enough food because it’s so expensive, and I’ve had to borrow so much money. I owe money to my landlord and he keeps threatening to evict me. We want Walmart and the government to find a proper solution according to the law. Workers are victims here. It’s so hard to live without proper pay.”
  • Pich Piseth
    32-years-old, Worked at the factory for 13 years
    “I came here to join the protest because I can’t stand what the owner of factory has done by shutting down the factory and only giving us $46 for each year we worked in severance pay.We just want to be compensated according to the law. Some of us have been here 10 or 15 years. The factory isn’t thinking about the workers. We want the owner and Walmart to take responsibility for this.
    About 180 workers join us every day and at night 30 or 40 workers sleeping in front of the factory gate because we afraid are afraid they will come to take the equipment out.”
  • Ly Omrin
    35-years-old, Worked at the factory for 7 years
    “Before the factory shut down, we have no work to do and they only gave us half of our salary. It’s not reasonable. In this factory we have the union but it’s the pro-factory union, they never find solution for workers when we have problem”
  • Heoun Rapi
    22-years-old, Worked at the factory for 8 years
    “I am 6 months pregnant. It was difficult to work while I’m pregnant but even though it’s hard I need to struggle. I don’t know what to do. I can’t survive with the salary cut. I will protest like this until there is a solution. I want the factory and Walmart to rush to give us our severance pay.”
  • Peang Keurn
    28-years-old, Former Worker
    “I worked here for 3 months in 2008. They have lots of problems in this factory. It’s hard to take leave when we are busy or sick. They deny us so we just go to work even though we were sick. Sometimes we have to leave without permission and when we go back to work we face blame. We were always afraid of losing our job at that time. Inside the factory it was very hot and the bathroom was very dirty and not enough air. Back then there was a lot of fainting.”

 

Listen to the workers outside the factory:

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paul@cleanclothes.org (Paul Roeland) News Tue, 22 Jan 2013 15:55:59 +0000
Final push to free Somyot https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/somyot-push https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/somyot-push somyot-actionpic

 

“Here in Thailand they know I get a lot of international support. Without that support I would maybe already be dead.”

The verdict of Somyot’s trial is expected on December 19th.

We have just a few weeks to show international support to help to free Somyot Prueksakasemsuk from arbitrary detention. Let your voice be heard and take part in our global Facebook photo action!

To support Somyot, we are creating a visual petition. Your input will be send to the Thai authorities. You can take part!

 

  1. Write "Free Somyot" on a piece of paper or on your palm or download a poster from Facebook in various languages 
  2. Take a photo of yourself holding the poster/ your palm with the words clearly showing
  3. Upload the photo to the Free Somyot Facebook Page
  4. You could then make your photo your Facebook profile picture and encourage your friends to take part too.

 

Every photo counts and will help to support Somyot in his struggle for justice, and to uphold freedom of expression for everyone in Thailand.

Somyot, a Thai labour activist, human rights defender and magazine editor, has been in detention since April 2011, awaiting trial under the Thai lèse-majesté law* (Article 112) for the publication of two articles deemed insulting to the monarch.
He faces up to 30 years in prison.

Last month, we visited Somyot in prison. Read what Somyot says about his prison life, the books he likes reading and the souvenirs of plastic replica's of prison food visitors can buy.

Read more about our actions on Somyot here

 

 

 

* Thailand’s lèse-majesté law prohibits any word or act, which “defames, insults, or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent, or the Regent”.

This law places the country in contravention of its international legal obligations to uphold international standards of freedom of expression.

 

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paul@cleanclothes.org (Paul Roeland) News Wed, 05 Dec 2012 16:45:58 +0000
Court hearing Somyot 19th December: an update https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/somyot-update2012-12-05 https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/somyot-update2012-12-05 AMRC-somyot

 

Somyot, a Thai labour activist, human rights defender and magazine editor, has been in detention since April 2011, awaiting trial under the Thai lèse-majesté law* (Article 112) for the publication of two articles deemed insulting to the monarch. He faces up to 30 years in prison.

Last month, we visited Somyot in prison and talked with him about his prison life,  the books he likes reading and the souvenirs of plastic replica's of prison food visitors can buy.

Somyot’s court hearing was postponed at the last minute to 19 December when the court decided that they needed to wait for the constitutional court to make a judgment regarding the constitutionality of Article 112 (the lèse-majesté law), under which Somyot is being held. Disappointingly for Somyot’s supporters, on 10 October 2012, the Constitutional Court ruled unanimously agreed that Article 112  was not in contradiction with the Constitution…

“The deprivation of liberty of Mr Prueksakasemsuk (…) is arbitrary”, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

At its meeting in late August 2012, the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention delivered its opinion saying that “the deprivation of liberty of Mr Prueksakasemsuk (…) is arbitrary”. The Working Group requested the Government to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation and bring it into conformity with the standards and principles set forth in the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights. The Working Group said that the adequate remedy would be to release Somyot and give him an enforceable right to compensation. Although this is good news for Somyot and all others charged and detained under article 112, it is doubtful that this Opinion will be followed by the government.

At the governmental level, Somyot’s wife met with EU representatives and UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  A number of human rights organisations have urged European country governments to continue to pressure the Thai government regarding lèse majesté cases and the foreign ministers of Italy, Switzerland and the EU have stated that they are following the case and will continue to raise the issue with the Thai government. The EU said it will plan a prison visit to Somyot and have raised the case of Somyot in recent official talks with Thailand's Foreign Ministry. The EU has also encouraged the Royal Thai Government to invite Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression to Thailand.

The public have also been showing their support. More than 8,000 people signed the petition to the Prime Minister of Thailand for Somyot’s release. The petition was submitted by the Thai Labour Campaign and other organisations during an action in Bangkok on 19 September.  On the same day CCC, Amnesty International, Civil Rights Defenders, Freedom House, FIDH and OBS issued a media statement to again draw attention to his case.

Action is still needed to support the Free Somyot campaign. You can take action here!

For more information about Somyot and his case:

 

 

* Thailand’s lèse-majesté law prohibits any word or act, which “defames, insults, or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent, or the Regent”.

This law places the country in contravention of its international legal obligations to uphold international standards of freedom of expression.

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paul@cleanclothes.org (Paul Roeland) News Wed, 05 Dec 2012 16:32:39 +0000
Vigils at European C&A stores for justice Tazreen fire victims https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/tazreen-vigils https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/tazreen-vigils candles

This week Clean Clothes Campaigns in Spain, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and Austria organise candlelight vigils in front of C&A stores. The labour rights group calls upon C&A and other buyers from the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh to ensure compensation to the victims, take credible steps to prevent future tragedies in the industry and support a full and transparent investigation into the fires. C&A and Li&Fung have confirmed that they were sourcing from Tazreen at the time of the fire that caused the death of at least 112 workers, and injured more than 50. Other companies that confirmed sourcing from Tazreen in the past year include Spanish companies Sfera and Hipercor (subsidaries of El Corte Inglés) and the German discounter KIK.

“With the vigils we want to pay respect to the victims, and expect from companies sourcing from Bangladesh that they join the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement to ensure nobody has to die to produce our clothes” says Christa De Bruin, International Coordinator at CCC The Netherlands.

In Hong Kong, labour groups took to Li & Fung's head office to demand immediate action from the sourcing agent. In India and the US, labour unions and supporters groups lit candles in remembrance of the victims.   

To prevent future tragedies, campaigners also call on brands to sign on to the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement, developed prior to last week’s tragedy by Bangladeshi and global unions and labour rights organizations. The agreement provides for, amongst other actions, independent inspections of supplier factories, public reporting, mandatory repairs and renovations, a central role for workers and unions in both oversight and implementation, supplier contracts with sufficient financing and adequate pricing, and a binding contract to make these commitments enforceable.

Companies PvH (Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein) and Tchibo have already signed this Agreement. The Agreement becomes effective once four companies sign up. Allowing trade unions to freely operate in workplaces will also play an important role in fire prevention by giving workers a voice in their workplaces.

“It is not sufficient to just pay humanitarian aid. C&A and Li&Fung are responsible for full redress of the victims. They should contribute to the loss of income and compensation for pain and suffering, in line with international standards”, says Tessel Pauli from the Clean Clothes Campaign International Secretariat.

In addition to compensation to the families of the deceased for damages and loss of earnings, the brands are expected to provide compensation for injured workers, cover costs of emergency relief and medical treatment and to compensate loss of earnings suffered by workers recovering from  injuries and for those left unemployed as a result of the fire.

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paul@cleanclothes.org (Paul Roeland) News Wed, 05 Dec 2012 14:42:37 +0000
Sean Combs’ ENYCE labels found in Bangladesh factory fire https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/puffdaddy-bangladesh https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/puffdaddy-bangladesh enyce

  • Labels and documentation of US and European brands found in burnt out remains

  • C&A, Li and Fung confirmed as buyers

 

US rapper and producer, Sean Combs, more commonly known as Puff Daddy or P Diddy, is called upon by campaigners to take action today after his ENYCE brand was linked a tragic fire which killed 120 Bangladeshi garment workers on Saturday. Labels from his ENYCE brand were found in the wreckage of the burnt out Tazreen Fashion garment factory by local activists.

“We are sure that Mr Combs will be as shocked as we are to find that his company is implicated in such an horrific tragedy” said Liz Parker of the Clean Clothes Campaign. “We urge him to use his influence to make sure clothing factories are safe places for people to work”.

 Other labels and documentation found in the factory relate to Walmart, C&A, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Piazza Italia , Kik, Teddy Smith, Ace, Dickies, Fashion Basics, Infinity Woman, Karl Rieker GMBH & Co., and True Desire (Sears). To date only C&A and Li & Fung, a Hong Kong based sourcing agent, have confirmed they were buying from the factory at the time of the fire.

The Clean Clothes Campaign and its partners is working to seek confirmation from each of these brands on the sourcing relationship they have with Tazreen Fashion and is urging each company to publicly state their involvement with Tazreen or their owners TUBA group.

The Clean Clothes Campaign is also calling on all buyers from Tazreen Fashions to immediately investigate the full facts of the case and to ensure that adequate compensation is paid to the victims and their families. It is particularly urgent to ensure those injured in the fire receive the immediate medical treatment they require.

To prevent further factory fires the Clean Clothes Campaign along with trade unions and labour rights organisations in Bangladesh and around the world have developed a safety programme of independent and transparent inspections, mandatory repairs of building deficiencies, a review of all existing laws and safety regulations, a commitment to pay prices that can cover the costs involved and the direct involvement of trade unions in worker training on health and safety. The Clean Clothes campaign is now renewing its demand for brands to sign up to this programme immediately.

The fire in Tazreen Fashions brings the total of workers that have died in factory fires in Bangladesh since 2005 to around 700. A second fire reported to have broken out in Dhaka today injuring workers demonstrates once again the need for immediate sector wide measures to prevent future tragedies.

Widespread protests about the fire are spreading across Dhaka and internationally to demonstrate anger and despair about the tragic loss of so many lives. Says CCCs Ineke Zeldenrust: “Brands, employers and authorities all are to blame for this needless suffering. This has to end now - there can be no more excuses, and no more delays or yet more workers will live in misery and die in pain to produce our clothes”.

 

Notes

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) works to improve conditions and support the empowerment of workers in the global garment industry.  The CCC has national campaigns in 15 European countries with a network of 250 organisations worldwide.

CCC has been working with partners in Bangladesh to improve fire and safety conditions since 2005, when the Spectrum disaster killed 64 workers. Since then we have campaigned for justice for workers following numerous fire, including Garib andGarib, That's It Sportwear and Eurotex. See http://www.cleanclothes.org/news/global-brands-should-ensure-garment-worker-safety

 

In March 2012 PvH signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh unions, international unions, CCC and other labour rights groups to work on a fire safety programme. Tchibo also signed on in September 2012. Despite months of negotiation GAP withdrew from the MoU in October this year. See http://www.cleanclothes.org/urgent-actions/gap-statement

 

Clean Clothes Campaign first press statement on the fire (25/11/12): https://www.cleanclothes.org/news/bangladesh-factory-fire-brands-accused-of-criminal-negligence

 

 

 

 

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paul@cleanclothes.org (Paul Roeland) News Mon, 26 Nov 2012 21:04:45 +0000
Bangladesh factory fire: brands accused of criminal negligence. https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/bangladesh-factory-fire-brands-accused-of-criminal-negligence https://archive.cleanclothes.org/news/bangladesh-factory-fire-brands-accused-of-criminal-negligence bd20121125-aljazeera

 The Clean Clothes Campaign, along with trade unions and labour rights organisations in Bangladesh and around the world is calling for immediate action from international brands following yesterday's fire in Dhaka Bangladesh, which cost the lives over one hundred garment workers.

The killed and injured workers were producing garments for international clothing brands when their factory, Tazreen Fashions, went up in flames. According to their website Tazreen produced for a host of well known brand names including C&A, Carrefour, KIK and Walmart.  The Clean Clothes Campaign believes that international brands have shown ongoing negligence in failing to address the safety issues highlighted by previous fires, and that this leaves them with responsibility for yet another tragic loss of life.

Many of the workers jumped to their deaths trying to escape from the six story building, others, unable to escape the blaze, were burned alive. The death toll continues to rise as rescue workers plough through the remains of the devastated factory. One fire fighter at the scene reported that there wasn't a single fire exit on the outside of the factory.  First reports suggest the fire was started by an electrical short circuit. The cause of over 80% of all factory fires in Bangladesh are due to faulty wiring.

"These brands have known for years that many of the factories they choose to work with are death traps. Their failure to take action amounts to criminal negligence" says Ineke Zeldenrust from the Clean Clothes Campaign.

Together with our partners in Bangladesh the CCC is calling call for an independent and transparent investigation into the causes of the fire, for full and fair compensation to be paid to the victims and their families and importantly concrete action from all parties involved to prevent future tragedies.

"As we yet again mourn the loss of scores of garment workers in Bangladesh, we demand that brands step up their game. Tragedy after tragedy underlines our belief that simple, cosmetic changes to existing programmes simply aren't enough. Action needs to be taken to address the root causes of these fires” said Ms Zeldenrust.

The CCC, together with local and global unions and labour rights organisations has developed a sector-wide program for action that includes an programme of independent and transparent inspections, an obligatory upgrading of the buildings supplying participating brands, a review of all existing laws and safety regulations, a commitment to pay prices that can cover the costs involved and the direct involvement of trade unions in worker training on health and safety. The Clean Clothes campaign is now renewing its demand for brands need to sign on immediately.

The employers and government of Bangladesh must also take their share of responsibility. The government must carry out an immediate investigation of the causes of the fire and prosecute those whose negligence has caused the death of these women and men. It must also invest in a country-wide programme of inspections to ensure that the buildings currently in use a fit for purpose and the buildings and wiring meet safety standards. All factory owners in Bangladesh must immediately review the safety procedures in place at their factories, carry out checks on he building and electrical safety and, most importantly, start working with trade unions to train their workers on safety procedures and allow space for workers to voice their concerns.

The Clean Campaign will continue to work with out partners on the ground to establish the full facts of the case and to push for justice for those affected by this terrible tragedy. In the meantime we call on all those with a stake in Bangladesh garment industry to move on from mere hand wringing and towards meaningful and concrete action to prevent such a horrific loss of life from happening in the future.

Notes

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) works to improve conditions and support the empowerment of workers in the global garment industry.  The CCC has national campaigns in 15 European countries with a network of 250 organisations worldwide.

CCC has been working with partners in Bangladesh to improve fire and safety conditions since 2005, when the Spectrum disaster killed 64 workers. Since then we have campaigned for justice for workers following numerous fire, including Garib andGarib, That's It Sportwear and Eurotex. See http://www.cleanclothes.org/news/global-brands-should-ensure-garment-worker-safety

In March 2012 PvH signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh unions, international unions, CCC and other labour rights groups to work on a fire safety programme. Tchibo also signed on in September 2012. Despite months of negotiation GAP withdrew from the MoU in October this year. See http://www.cleanclothes.org/urgent-actions/gap-statement

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paul@cleanclothes.org (Paul Roeland) News Sun, 25 Nov 2012 12:39:47 +0000