WRC Report on LTU Apparel
At this link, you will find a report on the WRC’s investigation and successful remedial work at LTU Apparel (“LTU”), a garment factory in Nakorn Pathom, Thailand, from July 2008 to the present. LTU operates the factory jointly, using the same workforce, with another clothing company, British Thai Synthetic Textile (“British Thai”), which until last year was disclosed by Gear for Sport, Inc. as a supplier of university logo apparel. LTU and British Thai also share ownership with a third Thai factory, Yao Yat Chuen Ltd., which produces non-collegiate apparel for Adidas. LTU produces non-collegiate garments for a number of overseas buyers, including several European and U.S. brands of wedding dresses such as David’s Bridal and Herve Mariage.
The WRC initiated its assessment of LTU Apparel in response to complaints received from employees alleging violations of freedom of association in the discriminatory layoffs of eight worker representatives on an in-plant union committee. An in-depth investigation by the WRC, which included interviews with employees and managers and review of company documents, determined that the company had targeted the eight employees for retaliatory discharge by assigning them to a single production line which it thereafter shut-down as a means of ridding itself of the worker representatives.
To its credit, LTU responded to the WRC’s findings by promptly reinstating the terminated employees. Since the reinstatement of these workers, there have been no further violations of associational rights at the plant reported, and the company has worked constructively with the workers’ union to correct significant health and safety issues at the factory, including supplying safe drinking water to employees and ensuring access to fire exits in case of emergency.
The outcome of this case provides a concrete illustration of the improvements in a factory’s overall working conditions that can be achieved by protecting its workers’ right to freedom of association. The WRC will continue to encourage further improvements in the factory’s labor relations and commends both the factory management and the workers’ union for the progress they already have made in this regard.
Worker Rights Consortium
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