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23 Jan 2024

BESTSELLER's response to allegations of abuses in Myanmar garment factories - February 2024 Update




Response: BESTSELLER conducted an unannounced onsite investigation, including document reviews, workers interview, meetings with factory management and supplier top management. We observed that there were instances of overtime, however, a document review found that the factory had provided full premium payments for all overtime. Additionally, after interviewing several randomly selected employees, we found no instances of forced or coerced labour.

Nonetheless, given the severity of the allegations, the factory was placed under increased observation. BESTSELLER visited the factory twice in the following months, during which we did not observe any evidence of involuntarily overtime. Additionally, during these visits we observed that factory management’s transparency improved in terms of provision of records of overtime hours and payment details.

BESTSELLER's local team continues to closely monitor this factory’s performance. Additionally, the factory is being enrolled in the SMART Factories Program under MADE project and “Ulula” worker voice tools as well.

Kfine International Garment


Response: Due to similar allegations published in local media in June 2023, BESTSELLER investigated and had increased monitoring to this factory and supplier prior to these allegations. The severity of Code of Conduct violations meant that BESTSELLER had communicated to the factory and supplier that this factory was facing offboarding unless they remediated and dramatically improved their performance. A corrective action plan was agreed upon by all parties. Since then, BESTSELLER has seen improvement in the factory management’s transparency, cooperation, and their commitment to build the strong workplace dialogue during the observation period. This factory is now enrolled in the SMART Factories Program under MADE project to maintain their improvement and to develop stronger management systems.

Regarding the specific allegations of individual instances of abuse, our local team investigated in person, interviewing workers on and offsite, and conducted a thorough document review. Of the instances that were verified, BESTSELLER has instructed and observed the factory management's remediation of all cases.

Huabo Times


Response: After conducting on site announced and unannounced factory visits, BESTSELLER confirmed allegations related to this factory for social security benefits, workers being discriminated for not working overtime, and other inadequate working conditions. As part of the agreed Corrective Action Plan, all supervisors have been enrolled in the Supervisory Skill Training delivered by MADE.

BESTSELLER continues to closely monitor all indicators of labour rights risks and violations related to these allegations during our monthly visits. We continue to work with the supplier and factory to ensure that the factory has the capacity to adhere to local regulations and BESTSELLER's Code of Conduct.

Sheng Mei


Response: BESTSELLER's unannounced onsite investigation found a communication gap between the factory management and worker regarding to the medical leave. Factory management did not sufficiently communicate requirements regarding applying for medical leave, lead to this case. On 1 December 2023, factory management and the affected employee went to the township conciliation body and both parties signed a mutual agreement that the worker can apply the leave in accordance with the law, for the employer to provide the requested leave and for the employer not to ask the worker to sign the warning letter if workers applied leave.

BESTSELLER's investigation was not able to verify the other allegations, but nonetheless, we continue to closely monitor the factory and interview workers as part of our monthly assessment process for this factory.

[The full response is attached]

Part of the following timelines

Myanmar: Garment factories reportedly forcing workers to work overnight; incl. co. responses

Myanmar: Labour Office reportedly accepting bribes from factory to ignore worker rights abuses; incl. co. responses

Myanmar: Garment workers face labour rights violations including 'humiliating' verbal abuse from supervisors; incl. co. responses

Myanmar: Workers fired after filing complaint over working conditions; incl. co. responses

Myanmar: Garment workers at Huabo Times denied social security benefits incl. medical treatment; incl. co. responses

Myanmar: Garment worker who filed complaint over denial of medical leave faces retaliation by factory; incl. co. responses