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Covid led to ‘brutal crackdown’ on garment workers' rights, says report

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  • Covid led to ‘brutal crackdown’ on garment workers' rights, says report

    Next time anyone considers buying a nice cheap garment made somewhere else...

    Some of Europe’s biggest retailers, including Primark, Zara and H&M, are failing to stop Covid-19 being used as a pretext for union busting, human rights activists are warning.

    Millions of garment workers in some of the poorest parts of Asia have lost their jobs since coronavirus shutdowns hit the retail industry worldwide.

    A new report, from the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRCC), portrays an “emerging and widespread pattern of supplier factories appearing to target unionised workers for dismissal”.

    The report highlights nearly 5,000 job losses it argues are linked to union membership at nine factories in Myanmar, Cambodia, Bangladesh and India. Workers say they have been disproportionately targeted due to union membership and organising.

    Thulsi Narayanasamy, senior labour rights lead at BHRRC, said: “Workers face a brutal crackdown when exercising their most fundamental rights, and brands aren’t stepping up enough to ensure workers in their supply chains are protected.

    “Threatening the right to organise collectively and be part of a trade union at such a critical time … stops them from being able to ensure they are paid wages, are safe at work and free from harassment.”

    Among the cases mentioned in the report are a supplier in India making clothes for H&M that sacked 1,200 workers in June citing lack of orders because of Covid-19. Meanwhile, the supplier’s other factories remained open. Workers and unions claim the closed factory was the supplier’s only one with a union, and was targeted for this reason.

    As production slowed in the garment sector in Asia as a result of plummeting sales caused by the pandemic, factories began to make thousands of workers redundant across the region.

    By early April, in Bangladesh a million garment workers had been sent home without pay or had lost their jobs after western clothing brands cancelled or suspended Ł2.4bn of existing orders.

    [...]

    But activists have warned that redundancies were being used to target union members and leaders.

    The report looks in detail at several ongoing disputes between unionised workers and managers in factories in India, Myanmar, Cambodia, Bangladesh and India. In every case it is alleged that big name brands should have been more active in ensuring workers were not punished or targeted for being union members.

    Three factories owned by the Windy Group in Bangladesh, which supplies Inditex – the Spanish owner of Zara – and H&M, sacked 3,000 workers. The workers say the dismissals are linked to union activism, although in a statement H&M told the Guardian that agreements had been reached at two of the factories. “As always, we work to facilitate a dialogue between the parties to help them resolve the conflict peacefully,” it said.

    In Cambodia, a young female worker, Soy Sros, was jailed for 55 days over a Facebook post criticising the factory’s plans to sack union members.


    https://www.theguardian.com/global-d...ts-says-report
    "It ain't necessarily so
    The things that you're liable
    To read in the Bible
    It ain't necessarily so
    ."

    Sportin' Life
    Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

  • #2
    This article has pointed out several important things...

    I've been trying to warn people that the economic shutdown would cause more problems than the coronavirus could ever do. It is an economic reality that companies will avoid unions where possible and that poorer people suffer more than the rich in economic downturns. We also see that freedom of speech is not being tolerated by governments, news media, and tech companies. Lots of evil is being done in this claim of protecting us from coronavirus.

    Comment


    • #3
      Capitalism.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Leonhard View Post
        Capitalism.
        There is probably some truth there. Having the world economy shutdown like this is going to result in billionaires getting lots of great deals in purchasing land and corporations. It is a shame how many countries have chosen this cure to coronavirus.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Leonhard View Post
          Capitalism.
          Indeed, every 4-7 years or so capitalist economies seem to have a market collapse of some kind.

          Not all are as bad as the Great Depression of course. But it seems like they've been getting worse recently. Unsurprising, given how enthusiastically the right-wingers, in pursuit of their worship of the free market, have been peeling away over the last several decades all the regulations that were sensibly put in place after the Great Depression to try to prevent a re-occurrence of it.

          Recessions and depressions seem to be a fundamental feature of capitalism and the free market. Unfortunately the disciples of capitalism don't seem to understand the human cost those have on people and families who lose their jobs and investments.

          In other fields, scientists and engineers understand the problems that feedback loops can cause, and know there have to be mechanisms in place in any functional system to prevent self-reinforcing loops from spiraling out of control. Somehow the apostles of capitalism seem to have missed that memo. Instead they seem to think the public is supposed to cheer during cycles of self-reinforcement in prices ("bubbles") as our/their wealth goes artificially up, and put up with cycles of negative-self-reinforcement where crashes and depressions make people lose their livelihoods and spin the economy into a death spiral. Amusingly/sadly in the depths of each plunge free market zealots suddenly seem to temporarily realize this, and support government intervention to rescue capitalism from its own inherent failings, only to promptly forget the lesson they just learned within a year when the next bubble starts up.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by mikewhitney View Post
            This article has pointed out several important things...

            I've been trying to warn people that the economic shutdown would cause more problems than the coronavirus could ever do. It is an economic reality that companies will avoid unions where possible and that poorer people suffer more than the rich in economic downturns. We also see that freedom of speech is not being tolerated by governments, news media, and tech companies. Lots of evil is being done in this claim of protecting us from coronavirus.
            Did you actually read the article? It was not about economic downturns and covid-19. It addressed job losses among some of the poorest paid workers who have dared to attempt to unionise.
            "It ain't necessarily so
            The things that you're liable
            To read in the Bible
            It ain't necessarily so
            ."

            Sportin' Life
            Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
              Did you actually read the article? It was not about economic downturns and covid-19. It addressed job losses among some of the poorest paid workers who have dared to attempt to unionise.
              I was remarking on the part you quoted
              Some of Europe’s biggest retailers, including Primark, Zara and H&M, are failing to stop Covid-19 being used as a pretext for union busting, human rights activists are warning.

              Millions of garment workers in some of the poorest parts of Asia have lost their jobs since coronavirus shutdowns hit the retail industry worldwide.
              Did you not read what I posted?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                Indeed, every 4-7 years or so capitalist economies seem to have a market collapse of some kind.

                Not all are as bad as the Great Depression of course. But it seems like they've been getting worse recently. Unsurprising, given how enthusiastically the right-wingers, in pursuit of their worship of the free market, have been peeling away over the last several decades all the regulations that were sensibly put in place after the Great Depression to try to prevent a re-occurrence of it.

                Recessions and depressions seem to be a fundamental feature of capitalism and the free market. Unfortunately the disciples of capitalism don't seem to understand the human cost those have on people and families who lose their jobs and investments.

                In other fields, scientists and engineers understand the problems that feedback loops can cause, and know there have to be mechanisms in place in any functional system to prevent self-reinforcing loops from spiraling out of control. Somehow the apostles of capitalism seem to have missed that memo. Instead they seem to think the public is supposed to cheer during cycles of self-reinforcement in prices ("bubbles") as our/their wealth goes artificially up, and put up with cycles of negative-self-reinforcement where crashes and depressions make people lose their livelihoods and spin the economy into a death spiral. Amusingly/sadly in the depths of each plunge free market zealots suddenly seem to temporarily realize this, and support government intervention to rescue capitalism from its own inherent failings, only to promptly forget the lesson they just learned within a year when the next bubble starts up.
                I have not really explored this area. It seems most of the cycles are not the result of businesses operating. Instead the cycles are caused by the Federal Reserve and international bankers who promote these cycles and take advantage of their own purchasing power during the downturns. Corporate owners -- or maybe more so the board members -- seem to consist of a narrowed group of profiteers who run the corporation for their narrow interests rather than the interests of the stockholders. So we are not in a fair system. Plus, the government is corrupted by the politicians' and government workers who are sponsored by the corporations. There is no clear way out of this unless the masses can act in unity.

                Comment

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