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Brands must support collective bargaining in collegiate supplier factory

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24 July, 2012IndustriALL Global Union and the ITUC have sent a joint letter to Nike and Adidas calling on them to take immediate action to protect an extremely fragile industrial relations situation at Honduran supplier, Pinehurst Manufacturing.

The factory, which produces licensed college t-shirts for Adidas and non-collegiate t-shirts for Nike, has been in CBA negotiations with plant level union Sitrapinehurst for almost seventeen months.  

The companies’ refusal to engage in good faith negotiations has made it impossible to reach agreement. For months Pinehurst sent representatives to the negotiations who professed they had no mandate to make concrete proposals. More recently, the company put forward an insincere proposal for a pay increase of 1 Lempira (five USD cents) per day. When this proposal, which would total less than USD 15 over the course of a year, was not accepted Pinehurst indicated they would be making no further pay offers. 

A report by the Workers’ Rights Consortium (WRC) on working conditions at the plant revealed that factory management responded to the formation of the union in August 2010 by dismissing workers and by establishing a rival management-dominated union at the plant. 

Early last year the democratic union Sitrapinehurst was finally recognised, but efforts to develop industrial relations were abruptly halted when Nike and Adidas reduced their orders from the factory. The Director of Pinehurst has alleged this reduction in orders has been instrumental in the failure to conclude the negotiations.

Writing on behalf of the Play Fair campaign the General Secretaries of the ITUC and IndustriALL expressed concern at recent worker dismissals, which saw experienced workers laid-off and positions filled by new hires, and demanded the brands intervene to ensure that the wrongfully dismissed workers are reinstated with full back pay from the date of dismissal.

The General Secretaries also called on the brands to give a positive indication to factory management that, should agreement be reached with the union, orders from the brands will at least be maintained at current levels for the lifetime of the CBA. 

Copies of the letters were sent to the Honduran Minister of Labour immediately in advance of reconciliation talks between the factory and union on July 19.  The Pinehurst Director, however, did not attend the meeting claiming that he had travel commitments. 

Nike have indicated that they are reviewing the situation.