Unprecedented Public Response to Administration Request for Comment Spotlights Political Stakes of NAFTA Renegotiation
The broad coalition that derailed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) delivered more than 100,000 petitions demanding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) be replaced with a deal that benefits working people. Activists with “Replace NAFTA” signs and T-shirts made the delivery today as witnesses arrived for hearings on NAFTA renegotiation at the U.S. International Trade Commission. This followed the unprecedented submission of more than 50,000 comments to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) docket on NAFTA talks.
Government response has not yet improved situation for migrant workers
The U.S. State Department has left Thailand on the Tier 2 Watchlist, just above the lowest ranking of Tier 3, in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, despite clear evidence that migrant workers remain highly vulnerable to human trafficking and that Thai legal institutions are failing to adequately protect victims or prosecute offenders.
As stakeholders gather at the 5th annual Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) European Roundtable to begin discussing the review of the certification body’s standards, known as the Principles and Criteria (P&C), NGOs remain critical that improvements to its standard will not be enough to ensure responsible palm oil production without serious reforms to its auditing, enforcement and complaints systems.
ILRF, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, Free the Slaves, and Verité submitted a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies calling for continued funding for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs’ grant programs.
Tomorrow, 18 May, the third annual review of the so-called “Sustainability Compact” between Bangladesh, the European Union and the International Labour Organization takes place in Dhaka. Despite optimism voiced by the EU, Bangladesh is still far from meeting its international labour rights’ commitments and taking concrete steps enshrined under the Compact. A striking example is the wave of repression which the the Bangladeshi labour movement has faced since December 2016.
ILRF condemns the recent brutal attack against Moisés Sanchez, Secretary General of the Honduran agricultural union STAS, for organizing workers to seek better working conditions and basic labor rights on Fyffes’ melon plantations in Choluteca, Honduras.
On April 13, 2017, Moisés and his brother Misael were returning home from a union meeting when they were intercepted by four armed men. Misael was seriously wounded in the face with a machete after trying to free his brother from the assailants.
On 24 April 2017 the Clean Clothes Campaign network will be remembering those killed and injured at Rana Plaza, the multi-story building which collapsed in Bangladesh four years ago. In a statement released today Clean Clothes Campaign sends its thoughts and sympathies to those still grieving for their loved ones, and those still suffering from the physical and psychological scars left by the disaster.
17 Align with Transparency Pledge; Others Should Catch Up
(London, April 20, 2017) – More apparel and footwear companies should join 17 leading apparel brands that have aligned with an important new transparency pledge, a coalition of unions and human rights and labor rights advocates said in a joint report issued today. The pledge commits companies to publish information that will enable advocates, workers, and consumers to find out where their products are made.
Human rights groups condemn detention of Turkmen activist on false charges
(Washington, DC – March 23, 2017) Alternative Turkmenistan News (ATN) reporter Gaspar Matalaev remains imprisoned on false charges of fraud, despite his family’s hope that he would be released in December and again in February, when others charged with the same offense were given presidential pardons. Matalaev likely remains imprisoned due to his work monitoring state-sponsored forced labor in Turkmenistan’s cotton harvest.
After months of intense efforts by labor unions, and labor and human rights organisations, all over the world, yesterday, Bangladeshi trade unionists, the government and the employers’ organisation announced the planned release of all remaining detained labor leaders. Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights Forum and the Worker Rights Consortium welcome the announcement as an important first step, but warn that in its current form it still falls short of fully resolving the crisis in Bangladesh.
Withdrawal from Factory Owners’ “Apparel Summit” is in Response to Two Month Campaign of Repression Against Bangladesh’s Garment Unions
Seven leading apparel companies -- H&M, Gap, Inditex (Zara), C&A, Next, VF Corporation, and Tchibo -- have pulled out as key speakers and participants from the Dhaka Apparel Summit, organized by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). Their decision to withdraw is a response to the campaign of repression against the labor movement carried out by the Bangladesh government and factory owners over the last two months.
(Washington, DC - February 16, 2017) A recent report by the International Labor Organization (ILO) confirms the scope and systematic nature of forced labor of Uzbek citizens during Uzbekistan’s 2016 cotton harvest, the Cotton Campaign said today. But the Uzbek government’s involvement in the research appeared to undermine the results, and may also have led the ILO to not give sufficient weight to the evidence of abuses presented by independent Uzbek civil society monitors.
Protests in: Berlin, Washington DC, Paris, London, Rome and Nine other Major Cities
This week global union federations UNI and IndustriALL, which together represent over 70 million workers around the world, are leading demonstrations at Bangladesh Embassies in at least a dozen cities calling on the Government of Bangladesh to secure the dismissal of all unsubstantiated criminal cases against recently arrested trade unionists and garment workers, and to immediately release them from jail. A protest was held at the Bangladesh Embassy in Berlin on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, February 1, the International Labour Organization (ILO) released its monitoring report on forced and child labor in Uzbekistan, which confirms that for a second year in a row, government mobilization of workers for the annual cotton harvest poses a significant risk of forced labor. We agree with several findings of the ILO report. The ILO reaffirms that sustainable elimination of the risk of child and forced labor remains a prominent issue in Uzbekistan.
Groups Cite Major Articles in World’s Leading Newspaper as Evidence of the Growing Risk to the Industry’s International Image
Four leading international labor rights organizations, the Worker Rights Consortium, the International Labor Rights Forum, the Clean Clothes Campaign, and the Maquila Solidarity Network, issued the following statement on the current labor rights crisis in Bangladesh:
From January 23rd to January 25th an international delegation made up of representatives from Banana Link, GMB, the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), 3F (General Union of Danish Workers) and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Tobacco and Allied Workers (IUF) arrived in Honduras to follow up on the serious situation facing hundreds of workers in the melon plantations owned by the Irish fruit company Fyffes, located in the south of the country.
Amnesty International recently released a detailed report exposing shocking labor violations – including children as young as 8 engaged in work that is hazardous to their health – taking place on palm oil giant Wilmar’s Indonesian plantations. Amnesty was able to trace the palm oil from the Wilmar estates into the supply chains of major U.S.
Walmart, Gap, VF, Target & Hudson’s Bay Have Failed to Address Deadly Hazards in Many Factories, But Bangladesh Alliance Downplays the Problem with Rosy Status Reports
Three and a half years after the catastrophic Rana Plaza building collapse, major apparel brands and retailers that are part of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety are failing to fulfill their commitments to make their supplier factories safe, leaving hundreds of thousands workers at risk, according to a new report by labor rights groups. The report, “Dangerous Delays on Worker Safety,” is the first independent study on progress at factories producing for Alliance members.