WRC Reports on PCCS Garment (Cambodia) and Thai Garment Export (Thailand)

To:Primary Contacts, WRC Affiliate Colleges and Universities
From:Scott Nova
Date:January 16, 2007
Re:WRC Reports on PCCS Garment (Cambodia) and Thai Garment Export (Thailand)

Two new factory assessment reports are available on the WRC website. The reports detail the findings, recommendations, and status of remediation at two factories that have been the subject of recent WRC investigations: PCCS Garment in Cambodia and Thai Garment Export in Thailand.

PCCS Garment

Click here to read the report on PCCS Garment. Located in Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh, PCCS Garment employs roughly 6,000 workers. The factory currently produces apparel for adidas and Puma, and has been disclosed as a past supplier of university logo product to VF Corporation.

The WRC initiated the assessment of PCCS Garment in response to worker complaints alleging violations in the area of occupational health and safety, as well as the excessive use of short-term labor contracts. On this latter issue, the WRC investigation found that PCCS Garment had begun in 2003 to hire all new production employees on temporary contracts of two or three months’ duration. Upon expiration of the contracts, workers were instructed to take leave from the factory for several days, and upon their return, were issued new short-term contracts along with new employee identification numbers. This practice, which amounts to the misclassification of large numbers of permanent production employees as short-term contract laborers, has the effect of denying these workers many of the rights and benefits to which they are entitled under Cambodian law and university codes of conduct. Such misuse of contract labor arrangements is becoming increasingly common in many apparel-exporting countries and is of particular concern to labor rights monitors (as some of you will recall, this issue was a topic of discussion at last year’s University Caucus meeting). The assessment also identified violations in the areas of health and safety, harassment and abuse, and legally mandated benefits.

PCCS Garment has made substantial progress in each of these areas. Most notably, on the issue of short-term contracts, the factory agreed last year to cease the practice of using these temporary contracts for permanent production workers. The factory has since converted the majority of short-term contracts to regular employment contracts, which has resulted in meaningful improvements in wages, benefits, and employment security for the roughly 1,000 workers who had been misclassified as contract laborers. The factory has also made significant improvements on the issues of health and safety identified by the assessment and has taken steps to curb verbal abuse by supervisors.

Thai Garment Export

Click here to view the report on Thai Garment Export. The factory is located in Samut Sakhorn, Thailand and employs roughly 3,000 workers. According to university disclosure records, the facility produces collegiate apparel for licensees Ashworth, Cutter & Buck, and Nike. The WRC undertook this assessment in response to complaints received from Thai Garment Export employees last year. The assessment identified serious violations in the areas of women’s rights, including failure to provide safe accommodations for pregnant workers, and freedom of association.

We are pleased to report significant improvements in labor practices at Thai Garment Export. In the area of freedom of association, the factory has reinstated a group of workers unlawfully terminated for their efforts to form a trade union at the facility and has ceased harassment and intimidation of union supporters. Factory management has subsequently commenced good faith negotiations with worker representatives over a variety of workplace issues. In the area of women’s rights, management has taken measures to ensure that pregnant workers are provided with proper accommodations to protect their health and safety.

As the reports note, ongoing monitoring will be required at both factories to address several outstanding issues. The WRC will continue to work with factory management, buyers, and worker representatives at both facilities to ensure that full remediation is achieved and sustained.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about either of these reports.

Scott Nova
Worker Rights Consortium
5 Thomas Circle NW
Washington DC 20005
ph 202 387 4884
fax 202 387 3292
[email protected]