Cambodia: Report uncovers alleged abuses at garment factories that supply intl. brands; company statements provided

Workers in a small, unmarked subcontractor factory in Cambodia

In the report “Work Faster or Get Out” (March 2015), Human Rights Watch criticises the Cambodian government for failing to protect garment workers who are producing for international apparel brands from serious labor rights abuses. Human Rights Watch was in contact with Adidas, Armani, Gap, H&M, Joe Fresh, and Marks and Spencer. Statements from those companies are included in the report.

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Author: Human Rights Watch

« Cambodge : Les lois du travail ne protégent pas suffisamment les ouvrières et ouvriers du textile », 12 mars 2015

Le gouvernement cambodgien omet de protéger contre de graves violations du droit du travail les travailleuses et travailleurs participant à la production de vêtements pour le compte de compagnies internationales, a déclaré Human Rights Watch dans un nouveau rapport publié aujourd'hui. Ces personnes, qui sont en majorité des femmes, sont souvent victimes de divers abus – heures supplémentaires forcées, discrimination en cas de grossesse, pratiques antisyndicales que ni le gouvernement ni les compagnies n’ont suffisamment cherché à endiguer…Adidas, Gap et H & M ont sérieusement discuté de leurs efforts pour remédier aux problèmes constatés. Adidas et H & M divulguent également publiquement les noms de leurs fournisseurs et mettent à jour périodiquement leurs listes. Marks and Spencer s’est engagé à divulguer la liste de ses fournisseurs en 2016. Seul Adidas a créé un processus pour que les travailleurs puissent obtenir une protection en tant que lanceurs d’alerte…[Also refers to Giorgio Armani, Joe Fresh (filiale de Loblaw Companies)]

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13 March 2015

Cambodia: Human Rights Watch uncoveres alleged abuses at garment factories that supply intl. brands

Author: BBC News

"Clothes retailers accused of labour abuses in Cambodia", 12 March 2015

Several High Street and high-end fashion brands have been implicated in a report on labour abuses in Cambodia. Human Rights Watch says it has uncovered alleged abuses at Cambodian garment factories that supply Marks & Spencer, Gap, H&M, Adidas and Armani. The pressure group found evidence of discrimination and anti-union practices, it says. It believes that short-term contracts can prevent workers from asserting their rights. HRW says it also found evidence of people being forced to work overtime and discrimination against pregnant women. The study found that factories supplying major retailers often sub-contract work to smaller factories, which are more likely to hire staff on a casual basis..."These international apparel brands need to help labour law compliance by publicly disclosing and regularly updating the names and addresses of their factories," says HRW...Marks & Spencer does not publicly disclose the names of its suppliers but HRW believes that 13 of the 73 factories supplied goods to the British retail giant. "We have not been presented with any evidence to support these claims," a Marks & Spencer...said. "If HRW comes to us with any evidence we will, of course, investigate." The retailer insists that its suppliers adhere to strict ethical standards, including "providing good working conditions, freedom of association, treating workers with respect, limits on overtime and paying fair rates of pay."All our supplier factories are audited regularly by third party, independent auditors and are visited by M&S compliance managers," the company said. M&S has committed to publishing a list of its suppliers in 2016. Adidas and H&M already publicly disclose their suppliers and HRW said that Adidas, Gap, and H&M have seriously discussed efforts to address the problems identified in the study. H&M told the BBC that supplier companies subcontracting work to smaller factories would lose their contracts with the retailer. "H&M has distributed a translated copy of its suppliers' list to local unions and labour rights groups to encourage whistle-blowing on undeclared units," the company said. Gap said: "We are investigating the alleged labour practices highlighted in this report. If true, they are unacceptable and violate our code of vendor conduct." Adidas said it has created a process for workers to seek whistleblower protection. "The vast majority of our supply chain in Cambodia is unionised,"...said. "Workers have the right to join unions of their own choosing."

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12 March 2015

Cambodia: Labour laws fail to protect garment workers, companies should disclose suppliers (Human Rights Watch)

Author: Human Rights Watch

“Work Faster or Get Out”, 11 March 2015

The Cambodian government is failing to protect garment workers who are producing for international apparel brands from serious labor rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said in a new report. The predominantly women workers often experience forced overtime, pregnancy-based discrimination, and anti-union practices that neither the government nor major brands have adequately addressed., “‘Work Faster or Get Out’: Labor Rights Abuses in Cambodia’s Garment Industry,” documents lax government enforcement of labor laws and brand actions that hinder monitoring and compliance. In recent years, wage protests, instances of garment workers fainting, and burdensome union registration procedures have spotlighted the plight of workers in Cambodia’s garment factories. “The Cambodian government should take swift measures to reverse its terrible record of enforcing its labor laws and protect workers from abuse,” said...Human Rights Watch. “These global apparel brands are household names. They have a lot of leverage, and can and should do more to ensure their contracts with garment factories are not contributing to labor rights abuses.” Human Rights Watch found that many factories repeatedly issued unlawful short-term contracts to avoid paying workers maternity and other benefits, and to intimidate and control them. Small factories that subcontract to larger export-oriented factories are more likely to hire workers on a casual basis, making it harder for workers to assert their rights because they risk being easily fired. Apparel brands have not taken adequate steps to end the illegal short-term contracts in their supplier factories – even where their supplier codes of conduct have clauses limiting their use...Human Rights Watch was in contact with Adidas, Armani, Gap, H&M, Joe Fresh, and Marks and Spencer...Among the six brands with whom Human Rights Watch was in contact, Adidas, Gap, and H&M seriously discussed their efforts to address the problems found. Adidas and H&M also publicly disclose the names of their suppliers and periodically update their lists. Marks and Spencer has committed to disclosing their supplier list in 2016. Only Adidas has created a process for workers to seek whistleblower protection...“Apparel brands committed to their workers should encourage better monitoring and protection by publicly disclosing their suppliers,” Kashyap said. “All brands should factor in the cost of labor, health, and safety compliance in their contracts to best ensure these rights are respected in the factories.”

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Author: Human Rights Watch

Die Regierung Kambodschas schützt Textilarbeiter, die für internationale Bekleidungsmarken produzieren, nicht vor schweren Arbeitsrechtsverletzungen, so Human Rights Watch in einem heute veröffentlichten Bericht. Die vorwiegend weiblichen Arbeitnehmer werden häufig Opfer von Menschenrechtsverletzungen wie erzwungenen Überstunden, Diskriminierung wegen Schwangerschaft oder gewerkschaftsfeindlichen Maßnahmen...Der 140-seitige Bericht „‘Work Faster or Get Out’: Labor Rights Abuses in Cambodia’s Garment Industry“ dokumentiert die laxe Durchsetzung des Arbeitsrechts durch die Behörden und die Behinderung von Kontrollen und Compliance-Maßnahmen durch die Markenhersteller. Demonstrationen für höhere Löhne, Fälle von Textilarbeitern, die während der Arbeit bewusstlos wurden, und die Einführung eines schikanösen Registrierungsverfahrens für Gewerkschaften haben im vergangenen Jahr ein Schlaglicht auf das Leid der Arbeiter in Kambodschas Textilfabriken geworfen...

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