Topy Top workers protested against the company last year. Photo credit: IndustriAll

Topy Top workers protested against the company last year. Photo credit: IndustriAll

German fashion house Hugo Boss has said it is "in direct, close contact" with Peruvian textile supplier Topy Top over allegations of worker rights violations and "union busting".

IndustriAll global union last week called on the retailer to ensure Topy Top reinstates dismissed union affiliates, and stops terminating the short-term contracts of unionised employees.

The use of export sector short-term contracts by Peruvian textile and garment suppliers not only violates international labour standards and Hugo Boss’s own code of conduct, it also makes it impossible for workers to organise and defend their rights, the trade union stressed.

According to trade union, Topy Top dismissed SINTOTTSA union secretary Huber Amed Albujar, affiliated to IndustriAll through the National Federation of Textile Workers of Peru (FNTTP), during negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement in April. The textile supplier also allegedly dismissed 12 union members, including five under judicial protection.

In a letter to Hugo Boss CEO Claus-Dietrich Lahrs, IndustriAll and FNTTP demanded the brand ensures the reinstatement of both Albujar and the 12 union affiliates, as well as ensure Topy Top explores all alternative measures prior to conducting layoffs in response to economic needs.

The unions also urged Hugo Boss to support the respect of freedom of association at the supplier's facilities, and that the short-term contracts of unionised employees are not terminated.

But in a statement sent to just-style today (25 June), Hugo Boss said it "adheres to international standards along a complex global value chain" and "advocates the highest principles pertaining to fair working conditions, freedom of association, the well-being and safety of our employees, as well as those associated with us".

Upholding these standards, all legal regulations and basic human rights, it explained, is "fundamental" to the brand. The statement added: "Consequently, we take these allegations very seriously and Hugo Boss is already in direct, close contact with the supplier Topy Top, in order to clarify whether these claims are grounded.

"If the accusations should prove justified and the facts show that the given circumstances violate legal requirements or our own code of conduct, we will naturally insist that the situation be remedied immediately."