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Stop union busting in your supply chain in Cambodia, Dunnes Stores told

28 August, 2020The Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) has called on Irish clothing retailer Dunnes Stores to stop union busting in its supply chain in Cambodia, and ensure that four dismissed union leaders are reinstated to their original positions at Greefield Industry.

On 17 June, eleven workers at Greenfield Industry, which produces garments for Dunnes Stores, held a meeting to form a factory level union of C.CAWDU and elected 11 union officials. Three days later, the human resources department summoned the 11 union officials, and informed them that the company could not renew their employment contracts due to a lack of orders and poor performance by the workers.

The local union president, Kosal, disputed this, because the workers had been completing their tasks on time and receiving the daily bonus. The company threatened the union officials, telling them to resign from C.CAWDU or face repercussions.

The local union president, vice president, secretary and treasurer were dismissed as they refused to sign the letter. Six union officials signed the letter and quit C.CAWDU under duress.

C.CAWDU wrote to Greenfield Industry to remind the company that dismissing workers due to their roles in setting up the local union is a direct violation of Cambodian labour law, which protects workers' right to form a trade union and prohibits discrimination against union activists. The company ignored the letter.

The company’s actions also infringe on ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association, which is ratified by Cambodian government, as well as Dunnes Stores’ Workplace Standards Protocol, which opposes discrimination and supports freedom of association.

Mandate trade union, which represents shop workers in Ireland, wrote to Dunnes Stores to raise their concerns. Dunnes did not respond.

The president of C.CAWDU, Kong Athit, says :

"After we lodged a complaint with Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, the ministry ordered Greenfield Industry to reinstate the four union leaders with full back-pay from the date of dismissal. Yet the company refused to accept the order and forbade them from entering the premises.

"We seek the immediate intervention of Dunnes Stores to rectify the serious violations of workers' rights at the company. The reputation of your brand is at stake if this unfair dismissal is allowed in your global supply chain."

IndustriALL sector director Christina Hajagos-Clausen says:

 “Union busting at Greenfield Industry is despicable and unacceptable. We fully support the demands of our affiliate C.CAWDU. We are using our trade union network to find a solution in this unfair dismissal case and thank Mandate from Ireland, who represent shop workers, for standing in solidarity with our affiliate in Cambodia.”   

Photo: Dunnes Stores in Cork, Ireland, by William Murphy