In the News

Flower Power - But Not For Workers

Inter Press Service
08/07/2006




By Helda Martínez

BOGOTA, Aug 7 (IPS) - The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Colombia and the United States that could be signed in October or November this year will maintain the tariff exemptions already enjoyed by Colombia's flourishing flower industry. But there are no plans for higher wages and better working conditions for the industry's 100,000 workers.

The floriculture sector has grown over four decades to the point where exports were worth over 870 million dollars in 2005.

Spotlight on Ignace Bla (Dignité-Côte d'Ivoire)

ICFTU OnLine
08/07/2006

Interview by Pierre Martinot

Brussels, 7 August 2006 (ICFTU OnLine): According to a 2003 ILO study
covering 1,500 cocoa producers in Côte d'Ivoire, there are over 5,000
children working in the country's cocoa plantations. These children may or
may not be paid and are not receiving any form of education. Most come from
the neighbouring countries and are victims of the child trafficking rackets
organised with Burkina Faso, Benin and Mali.

LABOUR-COLOMBIA: Flower Power - But Not for the Workers

Inter Press Service
08/07/2006

By Helda Martínez

BOGOTA, Aug 7 (IPS) - The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Colombia and the United States that could be signed in October or November this year will maintain the tariff exemptions already enjoyed by Colombia's flourishing flower industry. But there are no plans for higher wages and better working conditions for the industry's 100,000 workers.

The floriculture sector has grown over four decades to the point where exports were worth over 870 million dollars in 2005.

Wal Mart's supplier in Cavite to go on strike, calls for boycott

Worker's Assistance Center Inc. (WAC)
08/05/2006

A labor union of a company who is producing garment products for Wal Mart, the biggest retail store in the US, is posing to hold a strike following their employers' refusal to begin negotiations for worker's benefits and welfare.

The Chong Won Fashion, Inc., a Korean-owned garment factory, has since refused and opposing to begin negotiations with the union for their collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The company supplies garment products for US-based retail store Wal Mart.

Wal-Mart, Retailers Stumble Overseas as U.S. Formulas Falter

Bloomberg
08/01/2006

By Lauren Coleman-Lochner in New York

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- When it comes to selling overseas, the strategies of American retailers don't always translate.

The failed attempt of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, to conquer Germany illustrates the pitfalls of trying to stamp the U.S. model on another culture. Companies from Starbucks Corp. to Toys ``R'' Us Inc. have had to change the formulas that brought them domestic success when they have expanded abroad.

Students vs. Sweatshops, Round III; The Designated Supplier Program targets college clothing companies

ILRF
08/01/2006

By Mischa Gaus

CLAUDIA EBEL IS TRAVELING across Thailand this summer, but her itinerary is no vacation. The University of Colorado at Boulder sophomore is meeting with sweatshop workers, promoting a plan to change how college clothes are made -- and the lives of the people who make them.

Wal-Mart, Retailers Stumble Overseas as U.S. Formulas Falter

Bloomberg News
08/01/2006

By Lauren Coleman-Lochner in New York

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- When it comes to selling overseas, the strategies of American retailers don't always translate.

The failed attempt of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, to conquer Germany illustrates the pitfalls of trying to stamp the U.S. model on another culture. Companies from Starbucks Corp. to Toys ``R'' Us Inc. have had to change the formulas that brought them domestic success when they have expanded abroad.

An unhappy toy story: Unrest in China

International Herald Tribune
07/28/2006

By Donald Greenlees and David Lague

HONG KONG Four major American companies, including Walt Disney and McDonald's, ordered an investigation Friday into allegations that a riot at a big toy supplier in the Chinese city of Dongguan had been sparked by poor wages and living conditions for 11,000 factory workers, executives at the companies confirmed.

Organic for everyone, the Wal-Mart way: America's biggest company is also the world's biggest purchaser of organic cotton

Fortune Magazine
07/27/2006

By Marc Gunther, Fortune senior writer

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- The $300-billion global cotton industry uses more pesticides and synthetic fertilizers than any other crop. Cotton Inc., the industry trade group, says that's nothing to worry about, but you don't have to be a scientist to know that applying tons and tons of pesticides to the soil - more than 50 million pounds in the United States alone - probably isn't a good thing.

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