Tuesday, 7 November 2006

Fair Labor Association Gives Gildan One Last Chance

Gildan Campaign Update October 28, 2004 Maquila Solidarity Network Fair Labor Association Gives Gildan One Last Chance to Take Corrective Action On October 26, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) Board of Directors made a unanimous decision to give Montreal T-shirt manufacturer, Gildan Activewear, until November 30 to fully implement an acceptable corrective action plan to address violations of workers' right to freedom of association at the company's El Progreso factory in Honduras. If Gildan fails to meet this and other conditions by November 30, the company will be expelled from the FLA as of December 10. The conditions set by the FLA Board include: 1. Publicly acknowledging that there were restrictions on freedom of association at the El Progreso factory; 2. Effectively communicating to its Honduran employees in its three remaining factories in that country the company's commitment to respect their right to freedom of association; 3. Completing a corrective action plan that includes paying full back pay and severance pay to 39 workers fired for supporting unions in November 2003, and completing the first stage of a training program on freedom of association for workers and management personnel; 4. Correcting misrepresentations on Gildan's website and in the media; and 5. Constructively engaging with MSN on Gildan's implementation of the FLA Standards. While MSN continues to believe that Gildan's decision to close the El Progreso factory in the midst of a third party complaint process is, in and of itself, a violation of the FLA Freedom of Association Standard, we feel the FLA Board has done the right thing in setting a clear deadline and strict conditions for Gildan to take corrective action or lose its status as a FLA Participating Company. To access the FLA Resolution, visit: www.fairlabor.org/all/news/gildan.html REQUESTED ACTION: If you are involved in an organization or institution that bulk purchases Gildan T-shirts, urge that organization/institution to communicate to Gildan that future orders with the company will depend on whether it fully complies with the FLA conditions for continued membership by the November 30 deadline and implements a corrective action plan consistent with the FLA's and WRC's recommendations. Please keep us informed of any actions taken by these organizations/institutions. BACKGROUND: In December 2003, MSN, the Canadian Labour Congress, and the Independent Federation of Honduran Workers (FITH) filed a formal complaint with the FLA and the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), alleging that approximately 100 workers at Gildan's El Progreso factory had been fired for supporting unions in 2002 and 2003. The FLA and WRC carried out separate investigations, which found that El Progreso workers' rights had been violated as alleged in the complaint. However, in the midst of discussions with the FLA and WRC on a corrective action plan to address the violations, Gildan made the surprise announcement that it was closing the factory. On July 26, the FLA placed Gildan on a 90-day Special Membership Review because the company had "failed to achieve or maintain compliance with the FLA's standards." On September 24, Gildan closed the El Progreso factory, leaving 1,800 workers unemployed. While Gildan claims it has fully complied with legal requirements concerning severance pay and other benefits, it has not offered laid-off workers first hire opportunities at other Gildan factories in Honduras. On October 26, the FLA Board determined that Gildan had not yet fully met the conditions for continued FLA membership and therefore was not in compliance with the FLA Standards. The Board unanimously passes a motion to terminate Gildan's status as a FLA Participating Company, effective December 10, 2004, unless Gildan implements an acceptable corrective action plan and meets other conditions by November 30, 2004.

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