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Sri Lanka: NGO calls on Bata shoe company to take responsibility for supplier's dismissal of workers allegedly due to union activity

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28 October 2014

Bata response to Clean Clothes Campaign rejoinder

As prior attempts to contact and influence Palla were unsuccessful and as we no longer have any relationship of any kind with Palla, there is nothing more of substance we can do.

NGO rejoinder
16 October 2014

Clean Clothes Campaign rejoinder calls on Bata to engage with Palla on resolving conflict with workers

Author: Clean Clothes Campaign

Bata acknowledges that Palla & Co. violated the Bata Supplier Code. This effectively means that Bata was aware of the labor rights violations at Palla & Co. while sourcing there. However, instead of trying to contribute to and assist the supplier in the resolution of the conflict, Bata chose to end their commercial relationship...With respect to business relationships, in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, all businesses have the responsibility to avoid contributing to adverse human rights impacts and address impacts when they occur, including by participating in remediation..., we therefore strongly urge Bata to engage in the resolution of the conflict. To do so, we ask Bata to contact Mr. Anton Marcus, Joint Secretary of the FTZ&GSE Union to establish a true dialogue with the union and Palla. It is imperative that Bata also engages with Palla to find a suitable solution for the workers regarding the dismissals and outstanding wage increases, including considering to re-establish the commercial relationship with the factory.

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7 October 2014

Clean Clothes campaign calls on Bata to enagage with former supplier to reinstate workers

Author: Clean Clothes Campaign

"Bata refuses to step up for the people who made their shoes", 25 Sep 2014

Shoe company Bata refuses to take any responsibility for the resolution of a labour rights conflict arising at the factory Palla & Co., a Sri Lankan shoe factory...In the Sri Lankan factory Palla &Co, workers produced footwear for the shoe giant Bata. After the refusal of the local management to pay half-yearly salary increments in 2012, workers organised in a factory-level union. However, the management refused to engage in negotiations. Following subsequent workers’ protests, the factory management suspended 15 union officials in November 2013 and dismissed 179 union members in December 2013. Today, 94 workers and 12 unionists are still fighting for reinstatement...The dismissed workers are still facing severe problems to find other jobs because almost all other workplaces refuse to take them. The management of Palla & Co allegedly spoke to other factories’ management and asked them not to recruit their former workers...85 out of the 179 dismissed workers were reinstated by Palla & Co. However, the catch was that they had to sign an agreement with Palla & Co. stating that they would not participate in any trade union activities in the future...

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Company response
2 October 2014

Bata's response

Author: Bata

The Bata Supplier Code of Conduct requires that Bata suppliers operate their respective businesses based on minimum standards relating to safety, welfare, human rights, working conditions and the environment. Compliance with the Bata Supplier Code of Conduct is a condition of doing business with Bata. In 2013, Bata Europe ceased doing business with Palla & Co...In early 2014, although it had no commercial dealings with or other influence over Palla, Bata intervened and wrote to Palla to encourage it to resolve employee grievances. In doing so, Bata Europe informed Palla that there was no possibility of any future business from Bata Europe until such time as Palla resolved these grievances and made clear that it could operate in accordance with the Bata Supplier Code of Conduct. Palla did not respond to Bata Europe’s intervention...Bata Europe is not in a position to compel Palla to do something that Palla does not want to do. However, Bata Europe does not now and will not in the future do business with Palla until such time as the grievances are resolved and Bata can be certain that Palla will comply with Bata’s Supplier Code of Conduct.

Company response
17 July 2014

Palla response

The purpose of this letter is to give...our side of the story and to explain what exactly has happened at Palla & Co...

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