WRC Preliminary Report on Rising Sun (Kenya)
November 13, 2006
Please click here to view a preliminary report of the WRC’s findings and recommendations with respect to code of conduct violations at Rising Sun Kenya EPZ, an apparel factory located in the Athi River export processing zone on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. Rising Sun is a producer of goods for Steve and Barry’s University Sportswear, a major university licensee, as well as for Jones Apparel Group, among other non-collegiate brands.
The WRC undertook an investigation of the facility in response to complaints from individual workers and from the labor union that represents workers at the facility. Substantial, credible evidence supports the conclusion that serious code of conduct violations have occurred. Of greatest concern, the facility has conducted an unlawful mass firing of roughly 1,270 workers, carried out in early June of this year in response to protests by workers concerning working conditions in the factory, and has refused to pay legally mandated terminal compensation and back pay to these workers, with the amount owed totaling more than $550,000. Thus far, there has been no progress in correcting the violations in this case; urgent remediation is necessary if irreparable harm to worker rights is to be averted.
The WRC has communicated its findings in this case to the two major brands present in the factory during and after the mass termination. While both Steve and Barry’s University Sportswear and Jones Apparel Group have asked Rising Sun to correct the violations, the efforts by the brands thus far have not been sufficient to compel effective remediation. As outlined in this preliminary report, the WRC is making recommendations to the brands for further action.
As always, please feel free to contact me if you have questions regarding the information contained in the report.