India: Major brands respond to allegations supplier Avery Dennison is undermining trade union rights & failing to pay contract workers full entitlements

The International Union League for Brand Responsibility wrote a letter  to  Avery Dennison, a major label supplier, accusing it of undermining freedom of association and trade union rights in Bangalore.  The letter specifically alleges that Avery Dennison keeps workers on contracts to avoid paying them their full entitlements and will not recognise their trade union. It also alleges that Avery Dennison dismissed 52 contract workers in retaliation for trade union activity.

In June 2018 we invited Avery Dennison to respond.  Their response is provided below in which they deny the allegations.  The International Union League for Brand Responsibility subsequently submitted a rejoinder in response which you can read below.

Latest development - brands respond

In August 2018 the International Union League for Brand Responsibility asked us to seek responses to letters it had sent to three brands: Levi Strauss, H&M and Gap, which source from Avery Dennison on the ongoing alleged abuses.  It also asked us to seek a response from Avery Dennison to a follow up letter it sent the company regarding the situation.  Responses from the brands and Avery Dennison are below.

Union letter to Levi  Strauss   

Union letter to H&M   

Union letter to Gap Inc.  

Union letter to Avery Dennison 

Levi Strauss response

H&M response

Gap Inc. response

 Avery Dennison response

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Company response
5 June 2018

Response by Avery Dennison

Author: Avery Dennison

We would like to state at the outset that allegations made against us with regard to the engagement and dismissal of contract labor are unfounded. ​We are in compliance with applicable Indian laws and our employment of contract workers is regularly audited by our customers and inspected by regulatory authorities. Our contract workers are employed by our manpower suppliers...Any union formed by the contract workers must be recognised by the employers of those workers themselves, in this case the manpower suppliers. Because these positions are temporary, a particular contract worker may be deployed by their employer at Avery Dennison today and at another company next month, so the population is variable. GATWU’s allegation that we have retaliated against 52 contract workers for exercising their freedom of association is not true. There has never been a case where an Avery Dennison permanent employee or contract worker has lost a job based on joining a union. We respect the Right to Association and do not interfere in union formation....Avery Dennison reiterates that there has been no underpayment with respect to minimum wages paid to  contract workers and the figures cited in the letter are incorrect based on our current wage schedule

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Article
3 June 2018

Petition: Garment Workers on Hunger Strike in India!

Author: Avery Dennison Pvt. Ltd. Workers on Change.org

We are workers at Avery Dennison India Pvt. Ltd in, and also members of Garment and Textile workers Union (GATWU) Bangalore, India, and we are now on a hunger strike to protest the inhumane behavior of our management, and also violation of various Indian labour laws!! It's a multimillion dollar operation which produces products for brand giants...For many years, Avery Dennison has been paying us differing wages for the same amount of work, through subcontracting out some of us but not others. They have used this as an excuse to pay UNDER the already-low minimum wage for the work we do!....With the support of Garment and Textile Workers' Union, we organized to tell our employer that we deserve our basic rights. The employer, instead of respectfully negotiating with us, decided to retaliate. They illegally dismissed 44 of our colleagues for daring to stand up for our rights...We are now on our 5th day of our hunger strike to demand that they:

  • Reinstate ALL terminated workers
  • Make contract workers permanent
  • Provide equal pay for equal work
  • Stop worker discrimination
  • Stop union busting!

Read the full post here