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27 May 2022

Turkey: 100+ workers from NEXT supplier Neo Trend owed thousands after COVID-19 factory closure; Incl. co. response

In July 2021, Neo Trend garment factory in Istanbul, Turkey closed due to loss of orders during the pandemic, leaving 104 workers without thousands of euros in owed severance and other benefits. Labour group Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) says the factory owner has transferred all financial resources out of the country leaving workers with no avenue to access justice as per local labour law. According to workers, Next was the only buyer of Neo Trend ahead of its closure and they are calling on Next to engage constructively with them and ensure they are paid what they are owed. CCC has asserted that in cases of factory closure in countries with limited or no recourse to justice for workers, buyers in supply chains have a duty to ensure that workers are not left without their legally owed severance and wages, as outlined in the UN Guiding Principles.

In May 2022, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Next to respond. Next said the factory closure "cannot reasonably be linked to Next" but had in the past engaged with various parties, including worker representatives, in an attempt to reach a resolution. The response is included below.

In June 2022 we received a rejoinder from Clean Clothes Campaign, which argued that Next's failure to commit to future orders during the pandemic made it impossible for the company to continue trading.