Dutch campaigners sued by Indian textile manufacturer
This is the first time that a factory has filed suit against the CCC and the ICN for publishing information on working conditions in the garment industry on their respective websites. The internet providers of both organizations, Antenna and Xs4all, are also accused of defamation and are summoned to appear in the Bangalore court.
The action of FFI/JKPL is the latest step in a matter that has been evolving over the last few years. The Dutch organizations accuse the Indian factory, that supplies jeans for the Dutch brand G-Star, of mistreating its laborers: high workload, forced overwork, physical and psychological abuse, non-payment of overtime, and the non-issuance of identity cards and contracts. These accusations were backed up by a fact-finding mission of seven human rights and women rights organizations in August 2006.
Previously FFI/JKPL has taken legal action against local unions and labor support organizations that were advocating on behalf of the textile workers., prohibiting them to distribute information about the working conditions at FFI/JKPL.
Esther de Haan, of the CCC International Secretariat and one of the accused, stated: “Suing all human rights organizations that report about working conditions in the garment industry in Bangalore will not solve anything. What we demand of FFI/JKPL is to finally start a dialogue with the union and other local organizations in order to develop a normal industrial working relationship in which any labor rights issue can be discussed and solved.”
CCC and ICN continue to call upon the brands sourcing from FFI/JKPL (like G-Star, Mexx, Gap and Armani) to take a public stand against attempts of the manufacturer to silence its critics.