US: Haitian and Honduran garment workers speak out
Garment workers from Honduras and Haiti are taking part in a five-city tour across New York State this week as part of an ongoing campaign against sweatshops.
The tour, which is being organised by labour rights groups, is aimed at encouraging the State to uphold its commitment not to subsidise sweatshops - but is also linked to a mounting campaign against sportswear giant Adidas.
The workers sew apparel in factories owned and contracted by Gildan Activewear, the Montreal, Canada-based apparel company that recently became the largest supplier in the Western hemisphere to Adidas. Its clothes are also sold in university bookstores, worn by New York state police, and at Walmart.
Six universities have already committed to end their apparel contracts with Adidas over the brand's non-payment of severance to workers at a former Indonesian supplier factory.
Activists say $1.8m is owed to 2,800 former Indonesian workers at PT Kizone, which shut down over a year and half ago.
Haitian participants in the tour work at contract suppliers Genesis, Premium, Palm and SISA, and claim they face prohibition of union activities and arbitrary firings. Moreover, several of Gildan's Haitian suppliers refuse to pay the new mandatory minimum wage of less than $6 a day, the labour groups say.
For its part, Adidas says it has fully honoured its contractual obligations at the PT Kizone plant, and that the sale of the former factory's assets is intended to settle debts and help fulfill severance obligations.
Companies: Gildan Activewear Inc
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