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Striking a Balance in Cambodia

Author: Marta Kasztelan, Diplomat, Published on: 11 January 2014

...The reaction of businesses to last year‘s Rana Plaza factory collapse tragedy in Bangladesh, which claimed the lives of 1,100 workers, demonstrates that damage to the brand name is a risk increasingly featuring on the corporate radar. How this balancing act is executed varies from company to company…As pointed out by Helena Wright...companies leaving troublesome countries end up punishing workers twice, first with a lack of monitoring and standards and then by taking away jobs……[During a nationwide strike by garment workers in Cambodia], H&M, Gap, Inditex, Puma, adidas, Columbia Sportswear and Levis Strauss sent a letter to the unions, GMAC and to prime minister Hun Sen, stating that they “[t]he only way to resolve this dispute is to cease all forms of violence and…to enter into good-faith negotiations, allowing workers to safely return to work without fear of repercussions …”…[A]ccording to [the Solidarity Centre], workers‘ rights will…be realized if all brands buying from Cambodia make a commitment to staying in the country and to paying more…to increase the minimum wage. So far…H&M has committed to doing both...[refers to Walt Disney, Primark].

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Related companies: adidas Columbia Sportswear Gap H&M Inditex Levi Strauss Primark (part of Associated British Foods) Puma Walt Disney