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Alleged non-compliance with the Freedom of Association provision of the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct, such as discriminatory dismissals of union members.
In December 2003, the FLA received a Third Party Complaint from the Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN), supported by the Federation of Honduran Workers and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), regarding El Progreso, a factory owned by Gildan near San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The complaint alleged non-compliance with the Freedom of Association provision of the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct.
In February 2004, ALGI, an independent FLA-accredited monitor, made an unannounced inspection and confirmed violations of freedom of association and other provisions of the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct, including long hours of work, failure to pay overtime, and harassment. Consequently, Gildan agreed to a remediation plan, which included (1) training on freedom of association, (2) enhancing code awareness, (3) changing factory clinics to address concerns by female workers about improper medical examinations, and (4) improving health and safety. But then, in July 2004, as the remedial program was still ongoing, Gildan closed the El Progreso facility.
In October 2004, the FLA Board of Directors put Gildan on a 90-day Special Review because of the company's failure to remedy the issues identified by ALGI, compounded by the closing of the factory. The Board set out several conditions that Gildan had to meet in order to continue as an FLA Participating Company. On December 10, 2004, the FLA Board reinstated Gildan as a Participating Company and instructed FLA staff to provide an update on Gildan’s progress in implementing the remediation plan by February 2005. The FLA staff report found that Gildan had taken concrete actions to improve the conditions in its supply chain in factories located in the area as the El Progreso plant.
FLA engaged COVERCO (Commission for the Verification of Codes of Conduct), an independent FLA-accredited monitor based in Guatemala, to verify the remediation undertaken by Gildan. COVERCO conducted several unannounced visits in January 2006 at three of Gildan’s plants in Honduras.
According to the COVERCO verification audit, Gildan remedied most of its non-compliance problems found at El Progreso; but, Gildan needs to continue working on the remaining non-compliance issues at its facilities and provide better and more effective training, particularly on freedom of association.
After discussing the results of the verification audit with the complainant, MSN, FLA decided to formally close the Third Party Complaint.
FLA case story page: http://www.fairlabor.org/report/el-progreso-factory-honduras