Category Archives: Statement

Against LVMH Group on appointing Sebastian Suhl as COO of Givenchy while the candidate is in the case of sexual harassment and discrimination case in Prada Japan and Prada Luxemburg

To:

LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton S.A.

Mr. Bernard Arnault

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

22, avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris, France

Tel.: + 33 (0) 1 44 13 22 22

 

Against LVMH Group on appointing Sebastian Suhl as COO of Givenchy

while the candidate is in the case of sexual harassment and discrimination case

in Prada Japan and Prada Luxemburg

 

Asian Transnational Corporation Monitoring Network (ATNC) is a regional network consisting of civil society groups and labour unions in various Asian countries. Recently it has been reported that your company has appointed Sebastian Suhl as the new Chief Operating Officer of Givenchy, who appears as the key player of sexual harassment and discrimination case in Prada Japan when he was the Chief Operating Officer at Prada SpA.  Sebastian Suhl is also involving in the decision making of countersuing the victim for “hurting the brand logo by voicing harassment and discrimination in public” in Prada Luxemburg where the logo is registered.

The case is still proceeding at Tokyo District Court and the case clearly states Sebastian Suhl was the one who ordered the firing of the former Senior Retail Manager after she reported for help to Sebastian Suhl on the sexual harassment and discrimination issues at work and illegal accounting based on forced purchase by store staff at Prada Japan.

As labour rights concern groups advocating labour justice and gender equality, we are shocked and very concerned about your company’s decision to hire a candidate involved in the discrimination and harassment case while you are stating the below as part of your recruiting policy under “Talent Recruitment”.

“The LVMH group considers diversity to be a great asset and commits to deflecting any discrimination linked to age, sex, background, opinion or any other personal characteristics during its recruitment process.”[1]

As reported in the media, the plaintiff of the case Rina Bovrisse and other former Prada employees filed a labour lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court in 2009. Sebastian Suhl appears as the Global COO who ordered Prada Japan on illegal actions taken to the victims. Hitherto, the case is still unresolved and is in legal proceedings.

As a world renowned multinational luxury business group, LVMH should show commitments in corporate social responsibility and ensuring its employees of a discrimination-free working environment and fully respected labour rights protection.

However, to public outrage and disappointment, as a luxury business group which targets women as the major consumers for its Fashion and Leather Goods division, LVMH Group appointed a candidate being alleged of sexual harassment and discrimination practices towards female employees in Japan, especially in the middle of the lawsuit.

It is not the first time that LVMH Group was involved in hiring a candidate with controversial record of discrimination.  John Galliano, the former chief designer of Dior under LVMH Group was arrested and found guilty by the French court of anti-Semitic behavior in two complaints in 2011.  The former Dior designer was charged in connection with incidents in October, where he was accused of verbally abusing an English language teacher at CafeLa Perlein Paris.

 

LVMH Group has the responsibility to ensure the fundamental recruiting policy that is internationally recognized labour rights as prescribed by the International Labour Organization (ILO), including the rights to freedom of association and organizing. To consumers, it is very regrettable to see unethical labour practices behind the luxury business.

While the aforementioned labour disputes at Prada Japan have not yet been settled, your company is reported of recruiting Sebastin Suhl who is being the sexual harassment and discrimination case defendant.

Indeed, last year we expressed our deep concern to Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited for Prada’s attempt to file an IPO at the stage when the legal disputes have not yet solved. As a multinational enterprise committed to corporate social responsibility, LVMH Group should proactively adopt measures to eliminate any forms of discrimination and fully observe the laws and regulations regarding labour rights, social justice and equal opportunities in all jurisdictions where you invest and operate, in order to fulfill the expectation of the society, investors and consumers as well.

We, therefore, demand LVMH Group:

  1. To give a satisfactory response to the public and to Ms. Rina Bovrisse over appointing a new COO suspected of sexual discrimination, harassment and unfair dismissal at Prada Japan;
  2. To explain whether your company has requirements on your suppliers in observance with the rights of freedom of association and union organizing; and explain the implementation measures and the monitoring polices concerned;
  3. To explain whether your company has adopted any policies or measures against sexual discrimination and harassment

We sincerely look forward to your written reply. Should there be any enquiries, please contact the coordinator of the ATNC Monitoring Network at email: coordinator@atnc.org

Thank you for your kind attention.

Yours sincerely,

Asian Transnational Corporations Monitoring Network

Cc:

Ms. Chantal Gaemperle,

Group Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Synergies

 

Release Somyot and other political prisoners in Thailand

Prime Minister Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva
c/o Government House
Pitsanulok Road, Dusit District
Bangkok 10300
Thailand
Fax: + 662 282 8631/280 1589/629 8213
Tel. + 662 280 1404/3000
Email: abhisit@abhisit.org, public@democrat.or.th ,
publicchearing@opm.go.th,
soc@soc.go.th

Your Excellency Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva,

We in the international Community are shocked to hear news of the re-arrest of Somyot Pruksakasemsuk and are very concerned for his safety in the prison.

I write to ask you for the immediate release of Somyot Pruksakasemsuk who was arrested on 30th April 2011 and is currently being held at Klong Prem Central Prison, in Bangkok.

We know Somyot Pruksakasemsuk through his work for the international trade union movement and we have been active in the campaign in 2010 to release him from Adisorn Army base in Saraburi. We have come to know him as a loyal Thai citizen who is strongly committed to Human Rights in his role as an independent journalist and academic promoting freedom of speech.

We understand that Somyot was arrested on a charge of defaming, insulting and threatening the King, Queen and heir apparent (Section112 of the Penal Code) a charge which he fully denies. He also was not aware that any arrest warrant had previously been issued and strongly denies any claim that he resisted arrest.

We were informed by Somyot Pruksakasemsuk from a letter written by him in prison on 2 May 2011. He believes that his arrest was due to the effort by him and other pro democracy activists to collect the 10,000 signatures needed to table for a repeal of section 112 of the Criminal Code/Lese Majeste Law in parliament. This action was done in a peaceful manner and according to the procedure prescribed by the 2007 Constitution.

We are concerned about the current state of human rights and democracy in Thailand, where even peaceful and legal methods to express one’s views are suppressed and denied.

We believe that the country should move towards a genuine reconciliation in good faith and intention from all sides. Therefore any dissident voice should not be brutally suppressed, particularly prior to a national election. The arrest of Somyot for his peaceful activity will deter this process.

We further understand that the Criminal Court agreed with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to extend the detention of Somyot, it is something we believe to be an unacceptable abuse of Somyot’s human rights. Please urgently respond to this request for the immediate release of Somyot to allow him to organise his response to the charges against him.

ATNC Monitoring Network Appeal to Cambodian Government and Buyers, 16 September 2010

ATNC Monitoring Network Appeal to Cambodian Government and Buyers

16 September 2010

We express our strong support for the thousands of garment, textile and footwear workers in Cambodia who have begun a strike after exhaustive attempts in the last several months to negotiate with the government and Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) for a living wage.

We join CCAWDU and NIFTU in their contention that the new minimum wage

of US$61 and $56 (for regular and probationary workers respectively) is insufficient, and should be revised to US$93, which is the level that would bring the minimum wage to be living wage, one which complies with Article 104 of the Cambodian Labour law. Article 104 states that the wage must ensure every worker a decent standard of living compatible with human dignity.

Furthermore, the minimum wage should be adjusted from time to time in accordance

with changes in economic conditions and the cost of living, the revised level should not be fixed for four years as currently decided by the Labour Advisory Committee.

Wages below the minimum needed for decent living introduces whole families to vulnerability to child labour, illegal labour, malnutrition and health problems.

Garment workers’ wages have not risen to keep pace with inflation, much less the workers’ basic needs.

We urge the government as well as the company owners who are profiting from workers to fulfill the minimum demands of the Cambodian workers:

1. To increase the minimum wage to $ 93 per month

2. To increase other benefits such as:

– $2 work seniority annual allowance every year

– 1 hour over time food allowance of R1000 for every hour of OT worked

(US$1 = approx. R4,000)

– $10 attendance bonus per month

3. Wage increases should be provided to every worker

4. Request to negotiate or renegotiate on this wage issue once every year based on economic situation and the indispensable need of the workers.

In the 8 July meeting of the Labour Advisory Committee, attempts to adequately discuss and reach a consensus between the GMAC and the trade unions had not been exhausted which was the direct reason for the strong frustration and actions of the workers in protest to the new minimum wage much lower than what they demanded.

We strongly demand the Cambodian government to act strictly in accordance with the Cambodian Constitution Article 37 and the Cambodian Labour Law to protect the right of the trade union to use strike and demonstration to exert the legal rights of its members for collective bargaining and in wage negotiation. It is the duty of the Cambodian government, as a signatory country to the ILO Convention C98 to ensure that the collective bargaining on the minimum wage is undertaken without threats and retaliation against the trade union and workers’ representatives.

We note that there have been calls throughout the whole Asian region exposing the inadequacy of many countries’ and regions’ minimum wages, and the need and strong demand of workers for a living wage – a wage that can assure a decent living for workers and their families. The failures of governments to respond have led to mass actions in

Bangladesh, in Hong Kong, in South Korea, in China and other countries. In many places including China, significant wage increases have been granted by employers, showing that increases are indeed feasible without causing company closures.

As a group of labour unions and organizations in Asia which support and promote workers’ rights and justice for all, we intend to continue monitoring the Cambodian situation and joining our partner organizations CLC and CCAWDU in their calls for the solidarity of workers throughout Asia.

On behalf of

 

ATNC Monitoring Network, including:

Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong

Committee for Asian Women, Thailand

Globalization Monitor, Hong Kong

Korea House of International Solidarity, South Korea

Labor Education Advocacy Development Response Services (LEADER), Philippines

Labour Action China, Hong Kong

National Coalition on the Protection of Workers’ Rights, Philippines

National Free Trade Union, Sri Lanka

Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor, Malaysia

Solidarity of Cavite Workers, Philippines

Workers Assistance Center, Philippines

Yokohama Action Research, Japan

RELEASE SOMYOT! IMMEDIATELY END THE STATE OF EMERGENCY AND MEDIA CENSORSHIP IN THAILAND!

Dear Mr. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva,
 
We are a group of trade unions, labour organizations, human rights groups and concerned individuals.
 

We are writing to express our concern for Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, who was founder of the Center for Labour and International Solidarity Thailand (CLIST), an organization which in the past was a member of ATNC Monitoring Network and always a defender of Thai working people.

 

Somyot has been held in military barracks without getting charged since May 24th. We together with Clean Clothes Campaign which has also issued an appeal on his behalf, are seriously concerned about his health and safety.

 
We demand his immediate release and medical care provided by the Thai government, no later than June 13, as the Criminal Court in Bangkok has confirmed that there is no longer valid reason to detain him.
 

We strongly condemn his detainment without charges and without transparent legal process which has lasted over three weeks, and will monitor to ensure that no other pretexts are given by police to further detain him.

 

Furthermore, we strongly condemn the continuing state of emergency in Thailand and join Somyot and many other Thai groups in calling for an immediate end to the state of emergency and to media censorship and repression in all parts of Thailand.

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Background
Somyot was arrested together with Associate Professor Suthachai Yimprasert, after they presented themselves to the police when they heard of their arrest warrants.

Although they had been following events closely in their capacity as journalists and academics, neither of them are members of the Red Shirt core group.

According to the latest information we received Somyot was being held at Adisorn Army Base in Saraburi, 115km North of the capital Bangkok, and will be detained until at least 6 June. We understand that the Criminal Court and the Centre for Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) permitted his continuous detention until now, in violation of international human rights standards and national judicial law, with no charges were pressed against them, and no proper inquiry session during his detention.

 
The State of Emergency and media censorship

Although the battle in the center of Bangkok has ended, the government has continued to extend the state of emergency and block important independent and critical media including Prachatai. The charge against and detention of Somyot is a clear abuse of this extended state of emergency by the current Thai government.

 

As reported in The Nation, the Thai trade representive Kiat Sittheeamorn going to the World Economic Forum has said publicly that the state of emergency is still needed for a while, but that it would not hurt business or people’s way of life.Furthermore the government is instructing the tourism industry to ‘hard sell’ tourism in Thailand. This is a deep shame and outrage on all Thai people, to continue the pursuit of profits, which intentionally bases itself on repression of freedom of expression and ordinary people from their just demands for equality, a democratic government and freedom of expression.

 
Justice for the Crackdown

On May 25, 2010, we had sent a letter to the Thai authorities via the Thai Consulates in Hong Kong and Indonesia. We continue to hold those demands in addition to the above, and request the Thai government and Thai consulate to respond to us and to the public!

·        Immediately provide assistance and protection for all Thai people including those injured or bereaved due to the violent clashes

·        Appoint an independent commission to investigate the murder of innocent civilians by Thai military forces
·        Peacefully negotiate with the protesters, towards effecting a government with an elected mandate.

·        Protect the freedom of assembly, freedom of collective action and collective bargaining as universally recognized fundamental parts of a free democracy and fair society.


On behalf of
 

ATNC Monitoring Network

Asian Students Association

ATNC Network Letter to Honda Motors Co., Ltd. CEO, Mr. Takanobu Ito

Attention:

Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

President & CEO

Mr. Takanobu Ito


Dear Mr. Ito,

We have received information about the strike by workers at the Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co. in Foshan, China. We are informed that of more than 1,800 employees in the factory, 80 percent are student interns from technical schools, who are not protected by the labor law and whose wages are as low as 900 Yuan per month – below the minimum wage for the city. The interns are provided with only one meal a day and are charged for the cost of utilities connected with their lodging, reducing their earnings to only around 700 Yuan per month. Even after interns become regular employees, their wages are only 1,000 Yuan per month.

The workers went on strike to demand increased wages, yet during the negotiations the management has not shown good faith. The management has begun to force the interns to sign a “no more strikes” promise and has even mobilized some of the interns’ teachers and local government officials to exert pressure on the interns to go back to work on May 31. Throughout the process, the Honda official trade union has not provided any assistance for the striking workers, but urged them to resume production as soon as possible without regard for the resolution of the workers’ grievances and demands.

 

On May 31, your company in China continued to refuse negotiations. What is more, the local government together with the trade union, went to each team of workers and threatened with dismissal if they didn’t go back to work immediately. The worker representatives’ complained to us that about 200 men wearing union badges, attacked some 40 workers who insisted on continuing the strike. The assault led to multiple injuries and bleeding. We are shocked and outraged to learn that during the attack China Honda management did nothing to stop the assault on workers. We severely condemn such illegal acts of violence and Honda owes an apology to their workers.

You yourself reported in April 2010 that last year Honda’s sales achieved an all-time record of 580,000 units in China, the world’s largest automobile market. The workers of the factory are never able to afford one of the cars, which they are helping to produce by making auto parts. As the producing workers, they have a right to bargain for a greater share in the profits of the firm, and as management of a company originating in Japan, the management should respect the workers’ rights to free association and collective bargaining. The management should not shame itself by threatening and dismissing workers when they justly demand a greater share of the huge profits reaped by the company.

Rather, we hope that Honda management will lead the way in showing ‘harmonious relations’ with its workers, and we join the striking workers of Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co., Ltd. in demanding the following:

  1. Take responsibility for failing to ensure the workers’ safety by allowing the union men to attack the workers on May 31 which resulted in casualty, and paying for their medical treatment and recovery.
  2. Accept workers’ demands for higher wages: a wage increase of 800 Yuan per month for all workers and a compensation subsidy of 100 Yuan for each additional year of service.
  3. Reorganization of the Honda company union – organize a re-election of the trade union chairman and officers so that workers may elect representatives who act in accordance with their interests.
  4. Reinstate the dismissed employees and impose no punishment for workers who joined the strikes.
  5. No retaliation against workers after the settlement of dispute.

 

Regards

 

 

 

May Wong, Globalization Monitor, Director 

Doris Lee, Asia Monitor Resource Centre

ATNC Monitoring Network, Coordinator


On behalf of:

Globalization Monitor, Hong Kong

Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Hong Kong

Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, Hong Kong

Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese, Hong Kong

Cambodian Tourism and Service Workers Federation (CTSWF), Cambodia

Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor, Malaysia

Workers Assistance Center, Inc., Philippines

Solidarity of Cavite Workers, Philippines

National Coalition for the Protection of Workers’ Rights – Southern Tagalog, Philippines

Labor Education Advocacy Development and Services and Research Institute, Philippines

Committee for Asian Women, Thailand

KASBI – Congress of Indonesia Unions Alliance, Indonesia

Focus on the Global South, Thailand


and

ATNC Monitoring Network

China Labour Net, Hong Kong

 

June 1, 2010

ATNC Statement of Solidarity with Thai people for democracy and against repression

The ATNC Monitoring Network is outraged by the blunt military crackdown of the Abhisit government against its people to end the political tie-up in Thailand. On April 10, the government used state forces to eject the protesters, instigating armed fighting by both sides and 24 were killed and more than 800 wounded. Between 13 and 17 May, according to the government at least 35 people were killed, all civilians, and at least 232 wounded. On May 19, the government stormed the barricades of the protesters with tanks and full weaponry. Until now more than 80 people have been killed and 2,000 injured, including civilians and international journalists.

We strongly condemn the government’s actions and use of live ammunitions against unarmed civilians.

One does not forget the bravery of the Thai people who since 1973 have been struggling for freedom, democracy, justice and equality with their lives. They are crushed once again by the ruling class, whether it is represented by the Thaksin, Sundaravej or Abhisit government, which masks its neo-liberal domination with parliamentary democracy. As a regional network of trade unions and labour organisations fighting against neo-liberalism and capitalist exploitation, we stand in support of all the working people and labourers in Thailand to fight for real democracy that will achieve political and economic justice for them rather than a ploy of the interests of the ruling class.

Despite the political divisions and tension, the civil society organisations, trade unions and NGOs in Thailand are struggling to give a voice for justice to the people and their struggle. We support their appeal telling the international community that:

  • Rather than amending the real social contradictions of the Thai economy, the military coup back in 2006 was an illegitimate curb on democracy in Thailand resulting in the aggravated political mobilisations that further divided the country; and
  • Beyond the political division and complications, the people’s demonstrations in Bangkok and other provinces are to express their legitimate frustration and grievances against the existing mode of parliamentary democracy dominated by the partisan interests of the ruling class; the Abhisit government’s use of military force and live ammunitions against the demonstrators is an outrage that must be condemned.

We are particularly concerned with the oppression against the civil society, freedom of speech and association that is likely to follow after the crackdown in the name of “anti-terrorism”. We strongly urge the Abhisit government to:

  • Immediately provide assistance and protection for all Thai people including those injured or bereaved due to the violent clashes
  • End the state of emergency and submit all government actions to the legal system and its checks and balances
  • Immediately end all restrictions of the media
  • Appoint an independent commission to investigate the murder of innocent civilians by Thai military forces
  • Peacefully negotiate with the protesters, towards effecting a government with an elected mandate.
  • Protect the freedom of assembly, freedom of collective action and collective bargaining as universally recognized fundamental parts of a free democracy and fair society.

 

We urge the international communities, trade unions and labour organisations to give solidarity to the struggle of the working people and labourers in Thailand.

ATNC Monitoring Network, May 20, 2010

www.atnc.org

 

Those who agree with the above are welcome to join ATNC Monitoring Network as signatories to the statement

We also wish to draw attention to the courage of Thai groups inside Thailand now who have also launched their own statements and appeals to call for peaceful and genuine resolution to the country’s political and economic problems. Among them is this statement, created by our partner in Thailand, Thai Labour Campaign:

http://www.petitiononline.com/10310/petition.html

ATNC members in Indonesia and Hong Kong will submit the statement at Thai consulate and demonstrate in solidarity for Thai people on Tuesday, May 25, 2010.

ATNC Monitoring Network condemns the closure and layoffs of workers at Triumph International’s Plants

The Asian Transnational Corporation Monitoring Network (ATNC) strongly condemns the closure of the Triumph International Philippines factory inside the FTI Complex in Taguig City and the nearby Star Performance Incorporated as well, as the layoff of nearly 50% of the workforce in the Body Fashion Thailand (BFT), Triumph International’s Thai subsidiary. The ground reality Philippines: Effective July 9, 2009, 1,660 workers of Triumph International (Philippines) will be laid off from in its factories in FTI, Bicutan . Additonally Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is attempting to convince workers to accept the management’s offer of separation pay, despite the fact that the ompany openly announces its shifting operations to Region IVA or CALABARZON (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon). This relocation and hiring of new workers in the areas of relocation proves that economic crisis excuse for the layoffs is nothing short of a smoke screen. Thailand: Body Fashion (Thailand) Ltd.  (BFT) in Bang Pli, Samut Prakan province, a subsidiary of Triumph International Headquarters in Germany and Switzerland, manufactures and distributes women’s lingerie and swimwear.  After employing 4,200 workers for the past several years, the company has now suddenly announced a dramatic layoff of half of its workforce without advance notice. 1,930 employees, roughly half the factory’s workforce, are to be laid off effective August 28th.The company claims that it will pay the workers a severance pay in accordance to Thai laws but in reality the severance pay offered falls far short of the stipulated minimum by Thai law. The layoffs are also concentrated in those plants which have a militant, and strong union. The economic downturn and consequent reduction in sales and demand have been cited as reasons for the layoffs, however, the company has refused t provide details of their financial status to prove this. ATNC believes that these moves are blatant attempts on the part of Triumph International to gag and undermine the trade unions in these factories. The ruse of the financial crisis and its impact on the company is being used as a smoke screen, to enable Triumph International to relocate and through this neutralise the strong worker’s unions which have been demanding fair wages and better working conditions. It is our collective opinion that the economic downturn has not affected the company so drastically so as to justify such actions. If cost cutting is a concern for the company, it has many other ways to do so, particularly trimming off the bloated pay packets the top level management receive,instead of depriving thousands of their livelihoods. Triumph International has not only reneged on collective bargaining agreements it had entered into with the workers, but also shows scant regard for national laws. The millions in profit that have lined the pockets of the management and the investors have been through the blood, sweat and tears of workers in these factories. We demand that Unconditional reinstatement of all workers immediately stop the relocation of factories and production material The ATNC network stands in solidarity with the workers of Triumph International in this struggle.

 

To sign on the statement please click herehttp://www.gopetition.com/online/29350.html

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