Message from FLA Board Chair Kitty Higgins

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FLA, U.S. Advocates Call for Protection of Children in Uzbekistan

On Wednesday, the FLA joined other labor and human rights groups, American trade unions, investors, brands and retailers in appealing to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the eve of her trip to Central Asia.  With as many as 1.5 million children being removed from school and forced to work in the cotton harvest, the group called on Secretary Clinton to raise with Uzbek President Islam Karimov the need to permit the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to enter Uzbekistan to inspect conditions in the cotton fields. Read the full article from the Cotton Campaign, and see the full text of our letter to Secretary Clinton, below. Read the rest of this entry »

Work of MFA Forum concludes; group releases Guidelines for Managing Responsible Transitions

The MFA Forum is wrapping up its work after more than 6 years of discussing and finalizing recommendations and examining the impact on apparel workers resulting from the end of the Multi-Fibre Arrangement quota system.  As part of this group, FLA has worked with hundreds of other NGOs, trade unions, businesses, and others committed to promoting responsible competitiveness in key exporting countries in the expanding global marketplace.

The MFA Forum has produced a document called Guidelines for Managing Responsible Transitions, which provides recommendations for ensuring worker protection in the wake of factory exits by sourcing companies or factory closures.  From the document:

“Where retrenchments or closures are inevitable the key actors should work together to mitigate the negative social consequences, and in particular:

  • Where possible, buyers should maintain their current country supply base and contain consolidation in-country. If exiting a country, they should do so in a manner that respects the fundamental rights at work, international labour standards and national law and enables and encourages suppliers to do the same.
  • Workers should be paid their legal entitlements including social security, pensions and severance and should have access to job banks and retraining programmes.
  • In the event of factory closures the key actors should prioritize the promotion of opportunities for the employment for displaced workers in the remaining and/or new textiles and garment factories.
  • Displaced workers should have access to government-provided social safety nets.”

Download the MFA Forum’s Guidelines for Managing Responsible Transitions for details.