Cambodia: Freedom of association abuses reported in C&A supplier; C&A details steps taken to address issues

Included below is a letter from Cambodia Legal Education Center to C&A that alleges freedom of association abuses in a supplying factory in Cambodia, including the illegal termination of union leaders and related threats.

We invited C&A to respond. The initial response and succeeding update from C&A are provided.

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12 October 2016

Lawyers seeking clarifications re: violations of freedom of association at C&A supplier, Cambodia

Author: Community Legal Education Center

18 Aug 2015

…We bring to your attention the recent dismissal of five trade union leaders of the Cambodian Union Movement of Workers (CUMW) at this factory. We bring to your attention that these are illegal terminations given the protections under…Cambodian Labor Law…

…[U]nion candidates and local union officers were consistently harassed by Chinese supervisors and hired security in an attempt to get them to cease their union activities within the enterprise, and to participate in the company union. This also includes an alleged threat at gunpoint from a Chinese maintenance supervisor, Mr. Chay Siew Hua, also known as Mr. Chay Young Hua…

Despite the harassment, union leaders continued to represent and collectively bargain on behalf of their members. In doing so CUMW commenced a strike to bargain for increased benefits…

After one week of striking, the employer approached the court. Termination and suspension notices for…CUMW union leaders were delivered to the court by the employer...

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6 October 2016

C&A response

Author: C&A

...After providing the correct framework for common understanding and eagerness to reach out an agreement, the supplier Ginwin shared with them the current strategy that the company is taking (increasing the mechanisation of the factory and thus, maintaining if not reducing the amount of workers that they need). They provided figures showing how in the last 4 months they have reduced 39 employee from the factory premises. However the supplier acknowledge that the process occurred 2 years ago wasn't in accordance with the C&A Code of Conduct and hence it was up to set a compensation package for the 5 workers involved. 

The package is as follows: 
1- Withdrawal all the remaining open court cases against the 5 workers. 
2- Acceptance to back pay the salaries of the 5 workers since the date of the lay off until the date of the agreement. (4.000 USD) 
3- Acceptance to pay a lump sum for not being able to reinstate the workers at the Ginwin. (5.000 USD)...

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