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Cambodia: Over 1,200 garment workers protest over unpaid wages & benefits from factory producing for intl. brands; Incl. company responses

Over 1,200 garment workers have been protesting over unpaid wages and benefits from Violet Apparel (Cambodia) Co Ltd. in Cambodia, after the factory suspended its workers in May 2020, before ceasing operations on 1 July. Before its closure, Violet Apparel had a total of 1,284 workers. The workers are demanding compensation in lieu of prior notice, seniority indemnity, payment in place of unused annual leave and five days’ worth of unpaid wages during the Khmer New Year holidays in April. The president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, Yang Sophorn, has received a warning from the government due to her role in the protests.

In September, workers submitted a petition with the EU delegation to Cambodia, seeking help to secure unpaid wages and benefits owed by Violet Apparel. Violet Apparel reportedly produces for brands such as C&A, Nike and Carter's Inc., which export goods to the EU.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited C&A, Nike and Carter's Inc. to respond. Carter's Inc. did not respond. C&A responded and said it had ended the relationship with the supplier in July 2019. Nike responded and said it had not sourced from Violet Apparel since 2006 and its Code of Conduct specifies Nike suppliers must not sub-contract without Nike's prior written approval. However, photographs taken by workers inside Violet and provided to labour rights advocates show order forms and thread lists for Nike products, as well as a list of products purportedly produced by Violet for another factory, Olive Apparel. Olive Apparel is one of Nike's suppliers, according to the brand's online manufacturing map. The full responses are included below.

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