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Article

9 Jun 2020

Author:
Matt Blomberg & Nanchanok Wongsamuth, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Asia: Intl. car & fashion brands investigate reports that COVID-19 has fuelled union-busting in their supply chains

"Top brands probe 'union-busting' as virus spurs sackings at factories in Asia", 9 June 2020

Major brands... are investigating reports of mass sackings of union workers in their supply chains, amid fears from labour advocates that coronavirus has fuelled 'union-busting' at factories across Southeast Asia... BMW said it had set up a "response team" to pursue a complaint that one of its Thai suppliers, Sunstar Engineering, targeted unionists when it sacked 94 factory workers in May... The leader of the in-house union... said all but one of the sacked workers were members, while others who were not fired were instead pressured to leave the union...

Fashion brands Bestseller, Mango, Primark and Zara said they had launched probes into reports of union-busting in Myanmar. "We acknowledge an increased risk of union-busting during COVID-19 ... (and) have therefore increased our due diligence," said... Bestseller.

In one case, labour leaders and industry watchers said the Huabo Times factory in Pathein fired four union executives and 103 members three days after the union had been registered. Inditex-owned Zara confirmed it was looking into the issue, while Bestseller and Britain-based Primark said they were also investigating but that the sackings were in line with Myanmar's labour laws...

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