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Wal-Mart factory workers assaulted, fired for going on strike

by : Maquila Solidarity Network
Sunday October 1, 2006 - 01:43
3 comments

Action urgently needed: Contact Wal-Mart now!

Maquila Solidarity Network

Workers producing clothes for Wal-Mart at the Korean-owned Chong Won Fashion garment factory in the Philippines desperately need your support to put a stop to their employers’ attempt to destroy their union through violence, mass firings and intimidation.

This morning (September 27), a combined force of municipal and free trade zone police and private security guards attacked the strikers who were peacefully picketing outside the factory gates as the police escorted scab replacement workers into the factory. According the Philippine Workers’ Assistance Centre (WAC), 22 union members were injured in the attack.

This is the second police assault on the picket line since workers walked off the job on September 25 to protest their employers’ refusal to sit down with their union to negotiate a first collective bargaining agreement. According to WAC, at least 10 workers were injured in the first police assault, which took place shortly after they set up their picket line as the newly hired replacement workers began arriving for work.

That afternoon, WAC received information that all the striking workers were going to be fired. According to WAC, at least 66 workers have already been served termination notices. The free trade zone police are also reportedly blocking food supplies from reaching the striking workers in an apparent attempt to starve them out.

Wal-Mart is the major buyer in the factory. Although Wal-Mart carried out an audit of the factory one week ago (September 20), it failed to live up to its commitment to meet with WAC to hear its side of the story, as requested by MSN, or to put sufficient pressure on its supplier to cease all harassment, discrimination and abuse of union members.

One day before the audit, management personnel reportedly circulated and pressured workers to sign a document condemning their union for protesting outside the factory.

Although Wal-Mart has never been a friend of unions, its revised code of conduct requires its suppliers to respect their employees’ legal right to freely associate with any organization of their choosing and to not “obstruct or prevent such legitimate activities.”

REQUESTED ACTION:

Please join with MSN and the US-based International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF) in demanding that Wal-Mart live up to its promises to ensure that the workers’ right to freedom of association is respected.

SAMPLE LETTER (Please write your own and send a copy to MSN.)

[Date]

Rajan Kamalanathan, Director of Compliance Wal-Mart Stores Inc. 702 Southwest 8th Street Bentonville, AR 72716-0830 Fax: 479-277-1799 E-mail: Rajan.Kamalanathan@wal-mart.com

Dear Mr. Kamalanathan,

I am writing to you today to express my deep concern for the workers of Chong Won Fashion in Cavite, Philippines. As you know Wal-Mart has sourced from this factory for quite some time and has agreed to maintain orders at the factory and work with its supplier to ensure that workers’ right to freedom of association is respected.

I have received disturbing reports that workers who went on strike on September 25 to protest their employers’ refusal to negotiate with their union were physically assaulted by free trade zone police. Many of the striking workers have reportedly also received termination notices.

Together with International Labor Rights Fund and Maquila Solidarity Network, I would strongly urge Wal-Mart to live up to its commitments by immediately doing the following:

 Meet with the Worker’s Assistance Center in Cavite, Philippines in order to hear their side of the story on worker rights violations at the factory.

 Demand the reinstatement of any workers fired as a result of their participation in the strike and send a clear message to management that Wal-Mart will not tolerate any further violence, harassment, intimidation, or discrimination against workers because of their union membership or activities.

 Indicate to management that Wal-Mart will not tolerate any shifting or subcontracting of orders to other factories from Chong Won.

 Share and discuss your audit findings with the employer, other buyers, Worker’s Assistance Center, and United Workers for Chong Won (workers’ union), develop a corrective action plan, and work with other buyers, the supplier and stakeholders to implement the plan.

I look forward to learning how Wal-Mart has taken an active role to uphold its code of conduct at Chong Won Fashion.

Sincerely,

BACKGROUND:

In early September, the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF) and MSN received an urgent request for the Philippine Workers’ Assistance Centre (WAC) to assist Chong Won workers who were being harassed, intimidated and physically assaulted for supporting their union.

WAC also reported that two union leaders had been unjustly fired and that company security guards had distributed flyers to the workers threatening that if they voted in favour of a strike, the company would lose orders and the factory would close.

ILRF and MSN immediately contacted Wal-Mart and demanded that they pressure their supplier to respect its code of conduct and Philippine labour law.

MSN requested that Wal-Mart meet with WAC and the workers’ union outside the factory to hear their side of the story before carrying out an unannounced factory audit. We also requested that Wal-Mart report back to MSN, WAC and the union on their findings and the actions they were prepared to take. Wal-Mart agreed to do so.

Instead Wal-Mart bypassed WAC and consulted with management before carrying out a factory audit. It then met with a few union leaders inside the factory. We are still awaiting the results of their audit and a report on the actions they are prepared to take to help resolve the conflict.

For more information, please visit www.LaborRights.org and www.wacphilippines.com

http://www.maquilasolidarity.org/al...



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Commentaires de l'article
 

> Wal-Mart factory workers assaulted, fired for going on strike
Sunday October 1 - 04:45 - Posted by a68b49802b8a0817...

Yeah, Korea is such an democratic system. I have seen during a visit how the Korean police have beaten up Korean men and women, who went on strike. I have seen the pain and vain. I’m sick and tired how the United Skunks U.S. facists spread freedom and democracy around the world.

Ami stay home in your prison! We will make you!




> Wal-Mart factory workers assaulted, fired for going on strike
Friday October 6 - 03:50 - Posted by d6f35a1932b77960...

Careful reading of the article indicates the event took place in the Philippines, not in Korea.

Wal-mart is a corporation not a govt.

The board of directors needs to be pressured to act.

SOP. Businesses are looking to make money - regardless of ownership and exploitation.



> Wal-Mart factory workers assaulted, fired for going on strike
Sunday October 1 - 17:33 - Posted by 285e80e4b1241ec7...

This sounds like how the United States government works. Interesting wow!!!!







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