Cambodia: 1,000 garment workers strike over unpaid wages & benefits at factories producing for intl. brands; Includes company responses
In January 2020, nearly 1,000 garment workers in Kandal province, Cambodia, went on strike over unpaid wages and benefits at sister factories Dignity Knitter Ltd. and Eco Base. According to local reports, workers are owed wages since mid-December and are struggling to pay bills and expenses. Workers say it is not the first time the factories have delayed payment of wages.
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited C&A, Debenhams and John Lewis & Partners to respond to the situation after identifying them as brands sourcing from Dignity Knitter and Eco Base, based on public records. We also approached Arcadia Group who confirmed it had not worked with Dignity Knitter since July 2017.
C&A said it ended its relationship with Dignity Knitter in September 2019, after it had uncovered previous delayed payments for workers and identified a risk of reoccurrence after engaging factory management and the supplier as part of its own due diligence.
John Lewis and Debenhams confirmed relationships with Eco Base and Dignity Knitter, respectively. Both brands said the cases have been forwarded to the Arbitration Council. Debenhams also said it is engaging with Better Factories Cambodia and other brands and retailers to find a solution, and will continue to closely monitor the situation. The full responses are included below.