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NGO Rejoinder

30 Jun 2021

Campagna Abiti Puliti / Clean Clothes Campaign

Rejoinder from Clean Clothes Campaign to RINA's response

June 22rd 2021, Campagna Abiti Puliti

We are pleased to see that RINA engaged with the Business & Human Rights Resource Center. Unfortunately, our bilateral attempts initiated in March 2021 to correspond directly were fruitless, and this despite the Recommendations of the Italian National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises. 

The NCP issued its recommendations after an international coalition of human rights organizations had filed an OECD complaint against RINA in Italy in September 2018. This procedure was initiated after more than 250 people had died and over 30 had been injured in a fire at the Ali Enterprises textile factory in Karachi, Pakistan, on 11 September 2012. Just three weeks before the fire, Italian certifier RINA Services SpA had awarded the factory with the international SA 8000 certificate that is supposed to guarantee safety and other workplace standards. The complainants allege that RINA has not acted in line with the OECD Guidelines by not taking adequate measures to prevent similar harm in the future and by not contributing to remedy.

However, the response to our open letter -- including the claim that we are pursuing a “defamatory media campaign” while we are, in fact, merely complying with OECD NCP recommendations -- shows that Rina's position has largely remained the same as before the mediation procedure before the OECD NCP. In this respect, we consider it would be useful to offer some comments as parties to that procedure, representing trade union and civil society stakeholders with long-standing involvement in seeking remedy for Ali Enterprises factory fire affectees.

... With Reference to Recommendation E, we are glad to learn that SA8000 social audit data are going to be made accessible. However, it is not clear who those “other stakeholders” mentioned in Rina’s letter will be. We have been arguing for years for social audit data and reports to be publicly  disclosed because of their crucial relevance in preventing harm and enabling access to remedy for victims. Since we understand that the mentioned platform is not yet finalised, we assume it is still a work in progress, and it would be good to better understand the timelines and modalities for access or disclosure. It also remains unclear to whom this platform will be accessible. We wonder whether it will be accessible to the general public, as any other transparency register ...