Sentenced in retaliation for reporting on forced labor in cotton fields
Gaspar Matalaev, a labor rights monitor from Turkmenistan, was released from prison on September 6 after three years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his reporting on forced labor, the Cotton Campaign said today. A court in Turkmenabat sentenced Matalaev on spurious charges of fraud in 2016 and Matalaev served the entire three-year sentence.
A building safety initiative launching in India today, aimed at improving safety for workers in the country’s garment industry, is set on a path to ignore workers’ voices and replicate mistakes from the past. Although the “Life and Building Safety Initiative” professes to learn from the program that made factories safe in Bangladesh after the Rana Plaza building collapse, it ignores its most vital elements.
Procter & Gamble major importer of “illicit” palm oil products produced by Malaysia’s FGV
Today a coalition of labor, environmental, and social justice NGOs filed a formal complaint with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), seeking to stop the importation of palm oil products produced by FGV Holdings Berhad (FGV), one of Malaysia’s largest palm oil companies and a joint venture partner of Procter & Gamble.
The International Labor Rights Forum celebrates the International Labour Organization’s adoption of both a Convention and a Recommendation on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work. The historic treaty passed today at the ILO’s centennial assembly in a 439-7 vote, with 30 abstentions.
Uzbekistan Stays at Tier 2 – Still Work to do to End Forced Labor
For the fourth year in a row, the Government of Turkmenistan failed to meet the minimum standards to address human trafficking outlined in the 2019 US Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, resulting in a Tier 3 ranking – the lowest possible ranking.
As witness signatories to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, we are concerned about the potential negative impact on worker safety, both short-term and long-term, of the recently concluded Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Accord and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the diverging interpretations that have emerged over the last few weeks.
Labor Rights Groups Urge Other Supermarkets to Make their Business with Fyffes Contingent on Remediation of Labor Violations
Following letters to Costco Wholesale from Fair World Project and the International Labor Rights Forum urging the retailer to make future purchase orders with fruit company Fyffes contingent on the cessation of labor rights violations, Costco has confirmed that it has not placed future orders for melons from the Fyffes operations where ongoing violations occur. Fyffes is an Irish multinational company owned by the Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo, and is one of the largest fruit brands in the world.
Thirteen human rights and environmental groups express concern over revised Chain of Custody certification
A group of leading labor, human rights, and environmental organizations released a statement today expressing concern over the labor requirements in the Marine Stewardship Council’s revised Chain of Custody certification for on-shore seafood operations. The new requirements, released earlier this year, will not be effective in identifying, preventing and protecting seafood workers from labor rights violations, the statement says.
On the sixth anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse, labor rights groups are calling on the government of Bangladesh to cease attempts to expel the Accord on Fire and Building Safety from Bangladesh and to urgently increase safety efforts for the buildings currently under the government’s oversight, which include tens of thousands of factories across all industries.
The government of Bangladesh is using proceedings before the Supreme Court of Bangladesh to prevent the Accord on Fire and Building Safety from operating, thereby putting workers’ safety at risk. A ruling on 7 April in Bangladesh’s Appellate Court could require the Accord to close its Dhaka office and operations without taking into account whether national agencies would be ready to take up the work.
Amount is Approximately Half of What Chairman Stephen Schwarzman Reportedly Spent on His 70th Birthday Party; International Social Media Campaign Launched to Persuade Financial Giant to Do What Other Apparel Players Now Do
In light of new reporting by Ken Silverstein, the International Labor Rights Forum, AFL-CIO, United Students Against Sweatshops, and Global Labor Justice are calling on the Blackstone Group to pay Indonesian workers $10.8 million in legally owed terminal benefits.
Fair Labor Association Makes Significant Move to Require Affiliates to Disclose Supplier Lists
In response to requests from trade unions, and other independent labor rights and human rights organizations, on February 27 the Fair Labor Association (FLA) voted to require its company affiliates to publicly disclose their supplier lists. Details concerning the implementation of this decision, including the scope of disclosure, remain to be seen.
Fyffes’ announcement about its new “Global Gender Equality Program” today, on International Women’s Day, fell flat with trade unionists in Honduras. Fyffes is an Irish multinational company owned by the Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo, and one of the largest fruit brands in the world and the top importer of winter-season melons to the U.S. market. Right now, Fyffes is exporting many of these melons from Honduras.
On the night of 20 February a fire broke out and rapidly spread through the densely packed Chawkbazar district in Dhaka, Bangladesh. At least 70 people died in the fire that was exacerbated by illegally stored, highly combustible chemicals in the buildings. This horrible tragedy lays bare a pressing problem in Bangladesh: the use of residential buildings and areas for industrial purposes beyond the ready-made-garment industry, which creates serious safety hazards that remain as yet unchecked by national safety enforcement systems.
A fire in a Bangladeshi garment factory in Dhaka this week injured eight people, local media reports say. This tragic incident happened during a period of uncertainty and negotiation about the future of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh: the one international safety programme that has significantly improved worker safety in the garment industry since the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse. This week’s fire confirms that, despite the Bangladesh government’s assertions to the contrary, national inspection bodies are not yet ready to take over this important work.
The safety program that has been instrumental in restoring international trust in its garment industry after the deadly Rana Plaza collapse of 2013 risks being expelled from the country without a credible alternative in place. Negotiations between signatories of the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety and the government of Bangladesh have grounded to a halt, as Bangladeshi authorities have thus far refused to accept any other outcome than a swift and unconditional handover of the Accord’s tasks to national inspection entities.
The International Labor Rights Forum’s new paper, “Future of Fashion: Worker-Led Strategies for Corporate Accountability in the Global Apparel Industry,” published today coinciding with the OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector, calls attention to the failures of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and multistakeholder initiatives to address and remedy the persistent exploitation of millions of apparel industry workers.