Cambodia: NGO fact finding mission documents exploitative working conditions at garment factories supplying intl. brands

Human Rights Now has published a report alleging serious labour rights abuses in several Cambodian garment factories, including low average salaries, forced and unlawful overtime work, long work durations that sometimes amount to mandatory 24 hour shifts, unpaid overtime work, manipulation of workers by inducing a fear of contract non-renewal, infringement of freedom of association, and lack of protection for female workers such as maternity leave. These problems have been caused by the fact that Cambodian Labour Law has not yet sufficiently implemented in work settings; laws on short-term contract have been misused to dispose workers who speak up for inadequate treatment at workplaces; and lack of an effective mechanisms to redress the violations. At the same time, attention should be given to the corporate responsibilities of international brand companies, given that the factories investigated are the suppliers to these brands.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the companies mentioned in the report to respond:

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Report
2 June 2015

Cambodia: Labour exploitation in the garment industry

Author: Human Rights Now, Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union

Human Rights Now (HRN), a Tokyo-based international human rights NGO conducted a fact finding mission in Cambodia to investigate the situation surrounding the labour rights and working environments in garment factories, during the period from February 8th to February 12th 2015. In South East Asia, there are significant numbers of garment factories supplying clothes and shoes to international brands, including Japanese brand companies. However, these international brands sometimes prioritize low priced goods to be competitive in the market, causing violations of labour rights. Situation revealed are listed below:

1. Illegal and Cruelly Prolonged Overtime Work
2. “Disposable” Workers (The short contract duration and continual refusal to renew contracts)
3. Discriminatory Treatment of Labour Union Activities
4. Lack of the Protections for Female Workers
5. Unsafe Work-Environment
6. Lack of effective mechanism to redress labour rights violations

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Company response
2 June 2015

Cambodia: Marks & Spencer's response to Human Rights Now report

Author: Marks & Spencer

Our local sourcing team visited the Eco Base factory and conducted a full investigation, including meeting with the factory manager, workers and representatives from the C-CAWDU union. We found that there are a number of inaccuracies in the report, however, we recognise that there are areas for improvement at this factory. Our Global Sourcing Principles cover what standards we expect and require of our suppliers on a wide range of employment issues including pay, minimum age, working hours, and workers representation, and we will continue to work collaboratively with the factory to ensure that they are adhered to.

Company response
1 June 2015

Cambodia: H&M response to Human Rights Now report

Author: H&M

H&M has a dedicated team working on sustainability and compliance in our supply chain based in Phnom Penh. We regularly visit the factories we work with (at least twice a year), and monitor compliance, development and improvements over time. In addition to our own monitoring program we work closely together with ILO’s Better Factories Cambodia-program whose monitoring reports we regularly internalize into our own reports and are used as a basis for identifying action plans of improvement for the factories that we work with. We believe that an efficient and effective way of securing sustainable positive development and good labour conditions is to work towards well-functioning industrial relations in all the markets where we operate. This is why in Cambodia we are together with the ILO implementing a project to improve industrial relations there. This project aims at raising the abilities to negotiate working conditions and obligations on both factory, industrial and national levels. By the end of 2016 all our strategic suppliers will be enrolled in this project. We have engaged in constructive dialogue with both Zhongyin management and CCAWDU on the concerns raised there recently, and the parties have recently reached an agreement on these issues. ... 

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Company response
1 June 2015

Cambodia: Inditex response to Human Rights Now report

Author: Inditex

... Despite our limited ability to intervene (our purchases in this market are less than 2% of overall Inditex purchases), Inditex has always been very proactive in demanding the correct levels of Labour Rights and decent wages to the Cambodian textile sector. In this sense, we have offered our full assistance in this task to both the Cambodian union C.CAWDU and the international trade unions federation IndustriALL, as is customary practice under the scope of the procedures regulated by the Global Framework Agreement between IndustriALL and Inditex. ... Finally, we would like to mention the long-term commitment of Inditex, alongside other international apparel-makers, to establishing an adequate labor conflict resolution system in Cambodia. We believe that encouraging steps have been taken in this direction of late and that continued progress strongly depends on engaged dialogue and collaboration among all the vested parties, namely employers, trade unions, buyers and NGOs.

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Company response
1 June 2015

Cambodia: Statement on Working Conditions in Cambodia Garment Factories

Author: Fast Retailing

... Fast Retailing confirms that its Group brand UNIQLO maintains a contractual relationship with Zhong Yin (Cambodia) B Textile Co., Ltd., one of the factories included in the report. Although also mentioned in the report, Fast Retailing Group brand GU does not have a contractual relationship with Full Fortune Knitting Ltd. or ECO Base Factory Ltd., but does with a factory belonging to the same group, and Fast Retailing is currently checking the details. Fast Retailing has begun an inspection of working conditions at Zhong Yin (Cambodia) B Textile Co., Ltd., and if any problem is found, will urge the factory to initiate improvements and help the factory to implement them as soon as possible. ... Respecting human rights and ensuring fair working conditions are top priorities for Fast Retailing. The company first established its Code of Conduct for Production Partners in 2004, and since has regularly monitored working conditions at all of its production partners, including new partners. From January 2015, Fast Retailing enhanced its workplace monitoring further, and from February conducted a workplace monitoring pilot program at the suppliers that provide textiles to its production partners. It will complete monitoring all of these textile suppliers by the end of March 2016. From April 2015, Fast Retailing will also introduce impromptu, unannounced monitoring at all garment factories currently engaged with UNIQLO, as well as major garment factories working with GU.

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Company response
1 June 2015

Celio response to Human Rights Now report

Author: Celio

In reply to your emails from the 20th and 27th of May 2015, Celio would like to emphasize that it pays great attention to the working conditions in the factories operated by the companies with which it enters in a trading relationship.

Consequently, compliance with our Social Charter by our suppliers is an essential part of our General Terms of Purchase.

In this respect, we stress that Celio is a member of BSCI since 2006  and practices audits of the factories of its suppliers in accordance with the labour standards of the ILO that, predominantly but not exclusively, form part of our Social Charter.

In the event of detection of a violation of the Social Charter, the supplier is requested to immediately implement a corrective action plan. Failure to take corrective measures in order to ensure compliance with the Social Charter leads to termination of any or all trading activities.

Please find here above our answers to your queries on the sourcing policy of Celio.

Company response
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Author: ファーストレテイリング

報告書で弊社ブランドとの取引があるとされた3工場のうち、Zhong Yin (Cambodia) B Textile Co., Ltd.には、ユニクロの一部商品の生産を委託していますが、ジーユーの取引先工場とされているFull Fortune Knitting Ltd.およびECO Base Factory Ltd.の2工場については、弊社取引先工場の関連工場であることが判明しているものの弊社との直接の取引関係はなく、現在、事実関係の確認を行なっています。Zhong Yin (Cambodia) B Textile Co., Ltd.の労働環境についても自社調査を進めており、問題があると認められた場合には工場に対し速やかな改善を求めるとともに、改善に向けて協力してまいります。弊社は、生産現場における人権の尊重と適正な労働環境の維持を最優先課題と認識しており、2004年以降、「生産パートナー向けのコードオブコンダクト」にもとづき、新規取引先および継続取引を行っているすべての取引先縫製工場を対象に定期的な労働環境のモニタリングを行なっています。さらに今年1月からは、従来の労働環境モニタリングの強化・改善を進めています。2月以降、直接取引関係のない素材工場に対しても労働環境モニタリングを順次導入しており、2016年3月末までにユニクロの全素材工場で実施予定です。また今年4月からは、ユニクロの全ての取引先縫製工場およびジーユーの主要取引先縫製工場に対し、抜き打ち監査を実施する計画です。今後も工場労働環境の継続的な改善に向けた取り組みを進めてまいります。

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Report
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Author: ヒューマンライツ・ナウ

カンボジアでは50万人を超える労働者が衣料製品の製作に従事しており、衣料品を含む縫製品が輸出全体の約80%を占める。カンボジア国内の工場で作られた衣料品はGapやNike、H&M、ユニクロ等の国際的なブランド・メーカー向けに輸出されているが 、下請けであるカンボジア労働者の賃金は未だに低い。縫製工場労働者の90%を占める若い女性たちが労働搾取をされている。2013年12月にバベット地区から始まった労働者のデモは、縫製工場労働者の最低賃金を月額80ドルから160ドルに上昇させることを求めて拡大したが、2014年1月はじめにプノンペンにおける労働者デモがカンボジア政府・治安部隊によって暴力的に鎮圧され、少なくとも4人が死亡し、39人にものぼる負傷者が出たうえ、多くの参加者が逮捕・拘束される事態となった。こうした事態が国際社会の批判を呼ぶ中、政府は最低賃金の向上等の施策を打ち出している。しかし、ヒューマンライツ・ナウの短期間の調査の結果からも、現実の労働者の権利状況は未だ深刻であることが判明した。

 

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