Swiss-headquartered footwear business Bata is accused of “shirking responsibility” by not helping to resolve a labour dispute involving one of its suppliers in Sri Lanka.

According to the Clean Clothes Campaign, nearly 200 workers at a shoe factory producing for Bata were dismissed a year ago in a long-running dispute over unpaid salary increments.

The pressure group has accused Bata of a policy “cut and run” after the company ended its commercial relationship with the supplier, Palla & Co, at the end of last year.

Clean Clothes said the dispute dated back to August 2012, when Palla allegedly refused to pay workers agreed half-yearly wage increments, leading to a strike in July the following year.

Some 15 union officials and 179 workers were then dismissed, with some later reinstated on condition they refrain from union activities, but more than 100 still fighting for reinstatement.

The Clean Clothes Campaign said Bata had admitted the supplier had broken its code of conduct, but had “refused to engage meaningfully in the resolution of the labour rights conflict”, instead ending its relationship with Palla.

“Bata’s ‘cut-and-run’ approach represents a clear violation of the business responsibility to respect human rights and is even more reprehensible in light of the dire situation of the dismissed workers,” the group said.

It urged Bata to contact the local union representing the sacked workers and help resolve the conflict.

In a statement, global union affiliate IndustriALL said the Swiss shoe giant must take responsibility for the Sri Lankan supplier.

FTZ&GSEU’s president, Anton Marcus, a member of IndustriALL’s global executive committee, said: “These workers were producing for Bata and the company is ignoring its responsibility. Therefore IndustriALL and the Clean Clothes Campaign have launched the public campaign, and we hope that Bata will change its position without further delay.”