GENEVA — Labor union leaders and workers, including in the textiles and apparel sector in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Haiti, Sri Lanka and Guatemala, were among last year’s victims of killings, assaults, arrests and dismissals for seeking to defend core rights, a global survey said.
In 2012, there were 34 labor union activists killed in South Africa, 18 in Colombia, down from 29 in 2011, and a trade union organizer was murdered in Bangladesh, according to an annual survey of violations of trade union rights in 87 countries by the International Trade Union Confederation.
“Genuine free and independent trade unions can only exist in a climate free of violence, pressure, fear and threats of any kind, where fundamental rights are respected,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC general secretary.
Burrow said in countries where threats and violence against trade unionists occur, “Union membership decreases, making it impossible for unions to represent the interests of workers.”
The ITUC chief pointed out that in Guatemala, where 53 trade unionists have been murdered in the past six years, “only 1.6 percent of workers are trade union members.”
The report documents widespread breaches of rights of apparel workers and unionists ranging from violent attacks to lockouts and dismissals, and notes that opposition to organized labor was particularly strong in Export Processing Zones in countries such as Guatemala and Sri Lanka.
The report said in Sri Lanka, workers’ rights “continue to be routinely violated in EPZ’s. In many cases, union activists and members are suspended, demoted or terminated.”
Similarly, in Bangladesh last June, it notes, at least 100 garment, knitting and packaging factories in Ashulia were shut for a day after hundreds of workers staged a demonstration demanding a pay increase. In Haiti, the study outlines that 11 workers at the MGA-Gloria apparel factory were dismissed allegedly without cause after the garment factory learned about the formation of a labor union during a training session on collective bargaining.
Egyptian workers were also victims of antiunion discrimination, said the ITUC study, which represents 175 million workers in 156 countries, and includes the AFL-CIO. At the Nile Spinning and Weaving company, the report said, employers refused to honor pay increases that had been agreed upon in a collective accord in July, and subsequently 34 of the workers who went on strike to protest the violation of the agreement were dismissed.
On the plus side, the survey highlights that the Federation of Trade Unions-Myanmar (Burma) organized more than 18,000 new members within six months, and that the government of Guatemala “is now engaging with the ITUC to agree on a comprehensive reform package to improve trade union rights.”
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye