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NGO Rejoinder

Rejoinder by worker unions at Myan Mode & Rui-Ning factories

Dear Inditex, Mango and Bestseller, We the workers... who produce your clothes, were deeply shocked and saddened by your public statements that brazenly distort what happened... We work 10-12 hours a day, 6 days a week to make money for you... [for] factory wages of roughly $3 per day...

[You] promise[s] to protect our human rights... during the pandemic... However, we were alarmed when it became clear you would not protect our rights when our factories used COVID-19 to attack our unions. We called on you for help but you ignored us as our union members and union leaders were targeted for permanent dismissal as a means to destroy our unions...

[Y]our characterizations that the attacks... [are] “disputes” are false — these are blatant, irrefutable cases of discrimination against unionists. At Myan Mode factory, the employer attempted to permanently fire all 520 of our union members while continuing operations with roughly 700 non-union workers... Rui-Ning... fired 300 of our union members... several non-union workers with less than one year of service were retained... but our... union president was not... repeated attempts to negotiate... assurances for recall of our union members... have been rejected...

... [Y]our due diligence was to “investigate” by asking questions to our employers but not us... [Y]ou stated... dismissals at Rui-Ning... appeared legitimate... “done in accordance with Myanmar Labour Law”. This is hard to swallow since you... [know] our country’s weak labor laws fail to fully comply with international labor standards and your codes of conduct... Inditex, you claimed to have provided “mediation” at Myan Mode and yet you never communicated with us, despite our repeated requests... Mango, you claimed to be “in permanent conversations with  local unions” but in reality you sent us one email... but then we never heard back from you... Bestseller, you stated “...[you are] willing to discuss the case with the complainant” but you later clarified in private emails that you would only discuss our case with third parties – not us... the complainant...

[Y]our descriptions of diligently upholding your codes of conduct are dishonest... [At] Myan Mode... we repeatedly requested to negotiate a retrenchment plan that would not discriminate against our union members. You and the employer... refused... [A]fter great resistance... we could obtain a marginally better offer... [which] falls far short of your promise to respect freedom of association since more than 500 of our union members continue to suffer greatly from lack of income... At Rui-Ning, the employer still refuses to reinstate our union president and has only offered that our union members might be recalled when the pandemic eases...

We hope that our faith in you can be restored... we strongly urge you to enter direct dialogue with us... [Do] not walk away from doing business with these factories as a convenient way to avoid accountability... [At] Myan Mode, we seek assurances that you will enforce our agreement and increase your orders... so that our members will be recalled... [At] Rui-Ning... Our president must be immediately reinstated with back pay and our members must be given assurances of recall at the soonest possible date. Additionally, health and safety conditions... must be improved... Finally... any future due diligence efforts by you... [must] include engagements with our unions...

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