Clothing brands sourcing in Haiti have been urged to intervene to ensure their suppliers reinstate union leaders and activists unfairly dismssed last year after going on strike to demand an increase in the minimum wage.
Last May, in the wake of a hike in fuel prices that led to a dramatic rise in the cost of living, thousands of garment workers took to the streets to demand a minimum wage that would enable them to support their families.
Ten months later, in spite of repeated demands, 48 union leaders and members – including thirteen from IndustriALL affiliate GOSTTRA, have yet to be reinstated.
IndustriALL has called on Gildan Activewear, Hunt Wilson International and Edwards Garment to insist that their suppliers Sewing International SA (SISA) and Interamerican Wovens (IW), where GOSTTRA is present, to reinstate the dismissed workers with back pay.
In his letter, IndustriALL General Secertary Valter Sanches referred to the findings of a special investigation carried out by the ILO’s Better Work programme into the circumstances surrounding the dismissals at four factories. Among other recommendations, the report calls for the reinstatement of SISA and IW workers who were fired as a direct result of the strike action.
Sanches also reminded the buyers that in line with OECD standards they have a responsibility to promote responsible employment by identifying, preventing and mitigating labour rights risks in their supply chains and by providing for or cooperating in remediation where appropriate. They must also involve workers at every stage of this process.
Multinational brands rely on workers in their supply chains to produce their goods, and they must be accountable for how those workers are treated,