Blog: September 2010

Workers in Cambodia Take to the Streets to Demand Higher Wages

Workers like Chanvy want the garment factories to sit down and negotiate with C.CAWDU for a living wage.
The strike continued to grow daily, increasing from 60,000 workers on Monday, to 150,000 workers on Tuesday, up to 190,000 workers on Wednesday. With a total of 300,000 garment industry workers, the 190,000 workers represent an overwhelming majority of the garment work force. However, threats by the Cambodian government have been made against trade unionists who are trying to exercise their lawful right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Also, requests for public meetings and demonstrations have been repeatedly refused by the authorities.

Reverse Trick-or-Treating to Combat Child Labor

While many chocolate supplying companies, including Ben and Jerry’s, Cadbury, and Nestle, have made noticeable efforts on ending this injustice by providing products that are certified to meet certain labor standards, Hershey has clearly lagged behind.  On September 13, 2010 Hershey released its first Corporate Social Responsibility report, but Hershey currently has no means of tracking where their cocoa is coming from or auditing its cocoa farms to ensure labor standards for its suppliers.  This leaves many consumers in the dark as to whether or not their chocolate has been made at the hands of child labor.  ILRF is asking Hershey to take immediate action to end the use of child and forced labor on the cocoa farms in its supply chain.  

Labor Leaders in Bangladesh Released from Jail!

However, although bail has been granted in all cases, Kalpona, Babul, and Aminul still face prosecution on all charges filed against them.  Furthermore, BCWS’ NGO registration has still not been restored following its cancellation in early June and the organization is not permitted to function.   Additionally, several other prominent Bangladeshi labor leaders continue to face criminal charges, including Mr. Montu Ghosh, legal advisor to the Garment Sramik Trade Union Kendra, who is named in at least five of the cases against BCWS leaders and remains in prison since his arrest on July 30, 2010.

Join us for the National Day of Action Urging Walmart to Free Bangladeshi Labor Leaders!

By Courtney Smith, Intern, ILRF 

Drop Off a Letter to a Walmart in Your Town

Take a few minutes out of your day tomorrow, Wednesday September 8, 2010, to deliver a letter to the store manager at your local Walmart.  In addition you can hand out a leaflet we have created after you deliver your letter to Walmart customers to raise awareness about the issue. 

What you won’t learn about Pakistan in the WikiLeaks revelations

There is widespread agreement in business schools, newspaper opinion pages and in the discourse of development professionals: these hand-stitched soccer ball workers are “the lucky ones” in Pakistan, since they are producing for export and the buyers are mainly rich-country brands.  My research in the late 1980s in Indonesia proved the conventional wisdom wrong – workers making expensive sports shoes for export were getting cheated even when the minimum wage was 86 cents a day and beaten or demeaned for making production mistakes.  The ILRF study demonstrates how to rebut the mainstream – rosier – view of Germany’s largest newspaper: “...sporting goods industry [has created] a rare oasis of wellbeing in Sialkot” with double the national average annual income ($650/yr).  Interviews with

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