Tuesday, 7 November 2006

Canadian T-shirt manufacturer fights Toronto anti-sweatshop group

Gildan Campaign Update
Maquila Solidarity Network
November 3, 2003

Dear Members and Supporters of the Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN):
We are writing to update you on the latest developments in our dispute with the Montreal-based T-shirt manufacturer, Gildan Activewear. As you may know, Gildan has been threatening legal action against MSN if we continue to distribute our publication entitled "A Canadian Success Story? Gildan Activewear: T-shirts, Free Trade and Worker Rights," which examines the company's labour practices in Central America and Mexico. Gildan has also contacted nearly all MSN's funders in an apparent attempt to discredit MSN and the report. Please note that to date Gildan has not taken legal action against MSN, but it continues to threaten to do so. MSN has informed Gildan that we stand by the information and recommendations in the report, which is based on off-site interviews with Gildan workers carried out by the Honduran Independent Monitoring Team (EMIH), and that we will continue to distribute the publication. MSN and our coalition partners in the Ethical Trading Action Group (ETAG) are calling on Gildan to cooperate with an independent investigation before the end of 2003 to determine whether working conditions and labour practices documented in the report are based in fact, and if so, whether Gildan is taking appropriate steps to improve working conditions and prevent worker rights violations. Gildan's "official statement" on its website questions MSN's research methods and accuses us of engaging in a "misinformation campaign," circulating "blatant falsehoods," and "maligning the company's reputation without cause." In conversation and correspondence with institutional buyers, Gildan has made various claims about its labour practices in Honduras. The attached update outlines our assessment of Gildan's actions to date and reiterates our recommendations to Gildan to seriously address the alleged worker rights violations and workplace problems documented in the report. Thanks to all of you who have supported us through this difficult situation. Lynda Yanz, Coordinator P.S. For more information on issues surrounding Gildan Activewear and/or to order a copy of the report, please visit our website, address below.

Maquila Solidarity Network / Ethical Trading Action Group
606 Shaw Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6G 3L6
416-532-8584 (phone) 416-532-7688 (fax)

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