Saturday, January 18, 2014

Nike, Addidas, Levi Strauss, The Walt Disney Company and other global brands deplore the use of violence on garment factory workers

Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padey Techo Hun Sen Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia Cabinet of the Prime Minister, Council of Ministers Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia

17 January 2014

Dear Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padey Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia,
We, the undersigned global brands and global unions, write to communicate to you our grave concern at the killing and wounding of workers and bystanders by security forces on 2 and 3 January 2014.

The use of deadly force against protesting workers will not result in long‐term industrial peace and jeopardizes Cambodia’s position as a stable sourcing location for international brands. We strongly support the United Nation’s request that the Royal Government of Cambodia launch a prompt and thorough investigation into the events of 2 and 3 January 2014. The investigation should ensure full accountability of any members of security forces found to have used disproportionate and excessive force and to take measures to prevent the repetition of such acts.

We urge the Government to immediately engage employers and unions to negotiate a resolution to this crisis and to lay the foundation for credible and regular dialogue between workers, employers and government.
A constructive path forward for the industry must address issues that have been the root cause of current and past conflicts as follows:
  1. Rights of detainees. The government must respect the rights of the 23 detained trade union leaders and workers as detailed by the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Failure to take such actions constitutes serious interference with civil rights in general and trade union rights in particular.
  2. Respect for the right to freedom of association. Legal action against organizations for their legitimate union activity violates ILO Convention 87, Protection of the Right to Organize, which Cambodia has ratified. It states that “no one should be deprived of their freedom or be subject to penal sanctions for the mere fact of organizing or participating in a peaceful strike.” International law sets strict parameters for the respect of trade union rights and the Government must be in compliance with these. Violence and destruction of property are not legitimate tools of industrial action, and punitive measures should be taken against the individuals who commit those acts. However, legal action against unions participating in the wage strike violates this core labour rights standard, and is counterproductive to re‐establishing social dialogue in the garment industry.
  3. Trade union law. The introduction of a legal framework that is consistent with ILO Conventions 87 and 98 as the foundation for effective industrial relations is long overdue. We urge the government to re‐start an inclusive process that clarifies the legal responsibilities of both employers and workers to contribute to good industrial relations.

    4. New wage‐setting process. The government needs to honor previous commitments to institute a methodologically sound and inclusive process for determining the minimum wage. This new process should find prompt agreement on a new minimum wage and include a regular review mechanism to underpin more stable industrial relations.
The Government should accept technical assistance from the ILO to establish an effective wage‐setting mechanism and to develop and implement a trade union law.

The global garment industry is changing rapidly, and industrial peace is required to rebuild our confidence in the Cambodian garment industry.

We respectfully request that Samdech meet with senior representatives of the undersigned in the week of 3 February 2014 to discuss how we can help you achieve the above‐mentioned goals.
Please accept, Samdech, the assurance of our highest consideration.

Frank Henke
Global Director, Social and Environmental Affairs Adidas Group

Helga Ying
VP, External Engagement
& Social Responsibility American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.

Jeff Bee
Merchandise Director Bonmarche

Philip Chamberlain
Head of Sustainable Business Development C&A Europe

Adam Creasey
Trade Director, Global Sourcing Debenhams

Charles Dickinson
Senior Vice President
Head of Global Quality Management and Sustainability Esprit Holdings

Jane Randel
Senior Vice President
Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility Fifth and Pacific Companies, Inc.

Bobbi Silten
Senior Vice President, Global Responsibility Gap Inc.

Helena Helmersson
Head of Sustainability, H&M

Karl Gunnar Fagerlin
General Manager Global Production, H&M

Felix Poza
Global CSR Director Inditex Sa.

Jyrki Raina
General Secretary IndustriALL Global Union

Sharan Burrow
General Secretary
International Trade Union Confederation

David Love
Chief Supply Chain Officer Levi Strauss & Co.

Tracy Nilsson
Director, Global Sustainability Lululemon Athletica

Juerg von Niederhaeusern

Head of Sustainability / Social Compliance Migros
Angela Spindler Chief Executive
N Brown Group plc

Dr. Monica Gorman
Head of Corporate Compliance New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc.

Roger Wightman Managing Director New Look
Nick Athanasakos
Vice President, Global Sourcing & Manufacturing

Hannah Jones
Vice President, Sustainable Business & Innovation Nike

Stefanie Reichenbach Corporate Social Responsibility Orsay

Paul Lister
Company Secretary Associated British Foods

Dr. Reiner Hengstmann Global Director PUMA.Safe
Roopa Nair
VP, Human Rights PVH Corp.

Dr. Sven Axel Groos
Board Member (Non Food) Tchibo

Christophe Roussel International Sourcing Director TESCO
Ira M. Dansky

Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary The Jones Group Inc.

Michael J. Widman
Vice President, International Labor Standards The Walt Disney Company

Michael Levine
Senior Counsel and Senior Director, Corporate Social Responsibility Under Armour, Inc.

Phillip Jennings General Secretary UNI Global Union
Jan Saumweber

Vice President Ethical Sourcing
Ignacio Lopez

SVP Global Sourcing Operations Walmart
Copies: H.E. Sun Chanthol, Senior Minister, Minister for Commerce H.E. Ith Sam Heng, Minister for Labour and Vocational Training

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