ACTU joins international trade unions in it’s concerns regarding recent violation of workers’ rights in a Haitian textile factory that supplies Levi-Strauss.

9 March 2004

Mr. Michael Kobori
Director for Global Code of Conduct
The Levi Strauss & Co
1155 Battery St.
San Francisco, CA 94111
United States Of America

Dear Mr Kobori,

Re: Violation Of Workers’ Rights In Haiti

On behalf of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), I write to express our concern regarding recent violations of workers’ rights in a Haitian textile factory that supplies Levi-Strauss.

Thirty-four members of the SOKOWA union at the Grupo M factory in Ouanaminthe, Haiti were arbitrarily dismissed and the following day, the management called in a paramilitary force to attack other workers at the factory. This is a breach of Haitian labour law as well as international labour law. It also breaches the Levi-Strauss Social Responsibility/Global Sourcing and Operating Guidelines.

These Guidelines state that “we will only do business with partners who adhere to the following guidelines” which include:

Disciplinary Practices: We will not utilize business partners who use corporal punishment or other forms of mental or physical coercion.

Freedom of Association: We respect workers’ rights to form and join organizations of their choice and to bargain collectively. We expect our suppliers to respect the right to free association and the right to organize and bargain collectively without unlawful interference. Business partners should ensure that workers who make such decisions or participate in such organizations are not the object of discrimination or punitive disciplinary actions and that the representatives of such organizations have access to their members under conditions established either by local laws or mutual agreement between the employer and the worker organizations.

The Levi Strauss Company is one of Grupo M’s main clients and Grupo M
is in clear breach of your Guidelines. The ACTU seeks the immediate withdrawal
of all business with Grupo M until they rescind the dismissal notices, cease
threatening workers and re-instate the union members.

Yours sincerely,

Sharan Burrow

TCFUA National office
Support Group:
First of
May-Batay Ouvriye union federation: