GUATEMALA: US apparel firms seek enforced labour laws
A group of US retailers and brands, including Adidas, American Eagle Outfitters, Gap Inc, Liz Claiborne, Nike, PVH Corp, Under Armour and VF Corporation, is again calling on the Guatemalan government to enforce its labour laws amid ongoing concerns over labour rights violations.
The apparel companies all source in Guatemala and say they want to see the "timely resolution" of a complaint filed in 2008 by the US government under the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA).
A letter sent to President Otto Perez Molina on Monday (30 April) says: "Doing so would mark a major step towards establishing Guatemala's reputation as a country where socially-responsible companies may do business with confidence."
The 2008 complaint was the first labour complaint filed under CAFTA, alleging that the Guatemalan government has failed to enforce laws guaranteeing workers the right to organise and bargain collectively, as well as the right of association and acceptable conditions of work.
Subsequent reviews by the US confirmed "significant weaknesses" in Guatemala's enforcement of its labour laws - but consultations failed to agree on an adequate enforcement plan.
"We hope that your Administration will move swiftly to reach a resolution that is satisfactory to the parties involved," the apparel firms say.
"While we monitor the factories we contract with to verify the protection of workers' rights within our supply chains, we look to your government to support and enforce the rule of law so that businesses and workers can operate in a fair and safe environment."
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