November 6, 2018 – Malaysia and Indonesia are leading producers of palm oil, together accounting for 86 percent of global production and employing nearly 3.5 million workers, largely migrants from poorer neighbouring regions and countries.
Environmental concerns related to palm oil production emerged in the early 2000s, but it is only recently that conversations about the palm oil sector have included social, labor, and human rights issues. As awareness grows about poor working conditions and forced labor in the palm oil sector, governments around the globe, particularly in Europe, have taken notice and are exploring bans on the use of palm oil.
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – October 23, 2018 – Representatives from major apparel and footwear brands, led by the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and the Fair Labor Association (FLA), met on October 19 with senior Cambodian government officials to discuss the current state of worker rights, and opportunities for enhanced collaboration in upholding worker rights throughout the Cambodian garment, footwear, and travel goods sector.
On June 29, 2018, the Fair Labor Association joined with seven leading companies and the American Apparel and Footwear Association to send a letter to the President of the Republic of Nicaragua expressing concern about the nation’s political and social crisis threatening the rights, livelihoods, and physical safety of workers and others and the capacity of Nicaragua’s industries that export around the world.
On March 4, 2013, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) sent a letter to Peruvian President Ollanta Humala Tasso raising concerns over legislation that currently permits the employment of workers through the use of repeated short-term employment contracts. Short-term employment contracts do not provide stability of employment, and often erode access to fundamental labor rights.
Protection contracts – the practice of official unions or corrupt lawyers negotiating a union contract without the knowledge of workers – is a common practice endorsed by some companies operating in Mexico in order to limit workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. These contracts tend to exist only on paper, and workers are typically not informed of the agreement and are unaware of their collective bargaining rights.
Issues: During a 2010 visit to a factory producing golf gloves for Acushnet Company in Thailand, FLA assessors found that members of the worker-elected Welfare Committee were more than two years past their legal limit of service. Additionally, most of the members were management-level staff. The factory employed 1,500 people.
Issues: In 2006, the FLA received a third party complaint from the Cambodia Industry Union Federation alleging that provisions of the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct guaranteeing freedom of association and health and safety were being ignored at the Great Lancelot factory in Phnom Penh.
On October 12, 2011, the Institute for Global Labour & Human Rights released a report alleging a number of noncompliances at the Style Avenue factory in El Salvador, including harassment or abuse and forced overtime. Two collegiate licensees registered with FLA – Outerstuff and College Kids – were sourcing from the factory at the time of this report. Outerstuff and College Kids commissioned FLA-accredited monitoring organization, GMIES, to investigate the allegations.
Following resolution of disputes with the workers union, which included the signing of a mutually agreed Collective Bargaining Agreement last February, Paxar is “looking forward to the good faith implementation of the collective bargaining agreement,” noted FLA President Auret van Heerden, following the signing of the agreement, adding, “We will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the terms and conditions set out in the agreement are respected.