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July 2016 E-News

Progress and setbacks in 2016 TIP Report

The Cotton Campaign welcomed an advocacy win last week when the U.S. Department of State downgraded both Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to Tier 3, the lowest ranking, in its annual Trafficking in Persons Report. It also urged State to use the report to press both Central Asian governments to eliminate state-orchestrated forced labor in their cotton sectors. In a disappointing move, State upgraded Thailand from Tier 3 to the Tier 2 watchlist, a move that ILRF and allies believe to be premature. Malaysia also kept its unwarranted upgrade to the Tier 2 watchlist granted last year.

Sign petition: Stop criminalizing workers!

Peruvian agro-export company Tal S.A. fired all nine leaders of the trade union SITETSA earlier this year, after refusing to negotiate renewal of their collective bargaining agreement. Worse still, it has presented criminal charges against the union leaders for their efforts to promote workers’ rights. SITETSA has requested international support to urge Tal S.A. to do right by its workers. Please click here to sign a petition to U.S. fruit companies that buy from Tal S.A., asking them to encourage their supplier to agree to mediation with the union! 


Peruvian worker demonstration

Chinese workers take on Walmart and Disney

Retail and manufacturing workers in China are confronting abusive corporate practices including unfair scheduling and the failure to pay legally-required severance to laid-off workers. For some of the latest news, see:

In advance of the Fourth of July, ILRF staff also assisted with research for this deeply moving investigative story published on Slate: Chinese factories make most of the world’s fireworks. Unfortunately, they keep exploding.

Chinese Walmart workers protest unfair scheduling

Complaint alleges World Bank IFC loan supports forced labor

Uzbek human rights defenders and a victim of the Uzbek Government's state-sponsored system of forced labor cotton production filed a complaint last week against the World Bank’s private lending arm, the International Financial Corporation (IFC). Supported by the Cotton Campaign, the complainants seek an investigation of the IFC’s $40 million loan to Indorama Kokand Textile, and present evidence that the loan to expand the company’s manufacturing of cotton goods in Uzbekistan allows it to profit from forced labor and the sale of illicit goods. The IFC loan to Indorama is the latest in the World Bank’s increasing support for Uzbekistan’s coercive cotton production system, amounting to more than US $500 million. Read more here.

FCWA PepsiCo action

Honduran melon workers confirm abuses

On June 13, ILRF participated in an international delegation to Honduras. Delegates met with more than 60 Honduran workers who had been contracted by a company owned by the Irish multinational Fyffes during the recent melon harvest season. In April, 23 of these workers were fired for attempting to form a union. The action of these brave workers is an historic achievement in a sector dominated by temporary workers. The entire community is now afraid of being blacklisted when the new season begins in October, essentially denied employment because of their desire for union membership. Read our latest blog post to find out more about the delegation and what ILRF is doing to support the workers.

Honduran melon workers

Safety delays continue at H&M suppliers

The Sydney Morning Herald (one of the largest newspapers in Australia), The New York Times and The Guardian recently reported on H&M's unacceptable fire and building safety delays. The media coverage cited recent reports by the Asia Floor Wage Alliance that also exposed labor rights violations at Walmart and Gap suppliers. Our online petitions and global day of action on May 3rd had an impact in pushing H&M to speed up repairs, but the company continues to lag on ensuring critical, life-saving renovations at its supplier factories in Bangladesh. 

Protest in front of H&M sourcing office in Dhaka on May 3, 2016

Rock Against the TPP

The biggest challenge we’re facing in the fight to stop the anti-democratic Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is that too many people still don’t know what it is. That’s a real problem because corporate lobbyists are hoping to rush the TPP through Congress quietly this fall.

Fortunately, a coalition of change-makers and musicians has come together to sound the alarm with the Rock Against the TPP roadshow. The roadshow to several cities in the US will feature high-profile speakers and performers -- such as Tom Morello and Talib Kweli -- to educate the public about the grave threat the TPP poses to our most basic rights. Through this series of large-scale, educational concert events, protests, and teach-ins, we’ll reach huge numbers of people who have never heard of the TPP before, and ignite a mass movement to stop it in its tracks. Find out here if a concert is coming to a city near you

Rock Against the TPP


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