Work conditions at sportswear maker quietly improved

Posted: June 15, 2011 in Rights around the world
Tags: , , , , ,
The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.

Image via Wikipedia

The companies who source their sportswear from Ocean Sky factory in El Salvador all have corporate social responsibility pledges posted on their websites. Customers included America’s NFL and several well-known retail brands such as Reebok, Puma and Columbia.

It took a nine-month investigation by the Institute for Global Labour & Human Rights to uncover the reality:

  • Illegal forced overtime
  • Oppressive heat
  • Oppressive use of surveillance
  • Wages far below subsistence levels (72-92 cents an hour, or 8 cents per shirt)
  • Unsanitary drinking water on site
The Institute’s plan of attack is quite instructive. They didn’t call for a boycott and they didn’t even set out to embarrass the major brands about the findings.
With a local partner (Mujeres Transformado) they took responsible action that has resulted in concrete improvements. They presented their findings to Ocean Sky’s Singaporean owners, to the El Salvadorean Department of Labour and to each of the U.S-based sourcing companies.
The result? As of last month:
  • health and safety issues have been rectified
  • workers now receive payslips
  • the factory has made it clear that abusive language by supervisors is unacceptable
  • the owners have undertaken that there will be no retaliation against workers who raise concerns
Great start! Next the workers need to press for improved wages and suitable overtime payment…
  1. […] the No Dirty Gold pledge. Recent campaigns directed at single companies have seen improvements at Ocean Sky, a footwear maker, Bridgestone, Nestlé and […]

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