Mr Mohammed Ghaise
Director Fibres & Fabrics International / Jean Knit Pvt Ltd
Cc: Pramila Associates Advocates
Thursday January 11, 2007, the Clean Clothes Campaign - The Netherlands (CCC) and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) received a legal notice sent by Pramila Associated Advocates, in name of their client FFI.
This legal notice threatening civil, criminal and 'other' legal action against us prompts us to emphasize the following points, in the hope to clarify the position and ways of operation of CCC and ICN.
The Clean Clothes Campaign is an international coalition of NGOs and trade unions that aims to improve working conditions in the global garment and sport shoe industry. The India Committee of the Netherlands is a Dutch NGO that works in support of marginalized groups in India. CCC and ICN share a focus on labour conditions and labour rights in the Indian garment industry. To this end we collaborate closely with Indian NGOs and trade unions. Realisation of and respect for rights of workers in the garment industry is the general objective of our campaigning and advocacy activities. The basis for our work is formed by internationally respected labour standards as laid down in conventions of the International Labour Rights Organisation (ILO) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In this context, CCC and ICN have over the past year paid attention to the labour situation at the production units of FFI and JKPL. In a public campaign we have informed our Dutch and international constituencies and audiences of reported labour rights violations and irregularities in the application of labour laws at FFI/JKPL. The information and analysis put forward in this campaign is based on information we received from well respected and trustworthy Indian labour rights organisations.
Again on the basis of reports received from NGO sources, CCC and ICN reported positively about the improvements in the labour conditions at the FFI/JKPL facilities brought about by the management of FFI/JKPL in 2006. However, CCC and ICN are concerned about flaws in the labour rights situation at FFI/JKPL that have not yet been addressed. We fear for example, that workers still have insufficient possibilities to speak out freely about their concerns. In the given situation, CCC and ICN would say that freedom of association and the rights to collective bargaining are not assured. However, these are fundamental rights (ILO convention nr. 87 and 98) and should at all times be respected.
Taking note of ILO-principles, CCC and ICN are of the opinion that labour conflicts should be solved in good faith. FFI/JKPL and Indian labour support organisations seem currently stuck in a deadlock situation. Despite the difficulties of this specific situation, CCC and ICN would still like to stress the need for dialogue. CCC and ICN therefore hope a remediation process could be initiated, as a means to reach long-term solutions that benefit both the management and the workers of FFI/JKPL. To reach this point, CCC and ICN think third party mediation is needed.
To conclude, CCC and ICN would like to call upon FFI/JKPL to have a dialogue with GATWU and other local labour support organisations a new chance. With the help of a mutually acceptable mediator, a remediation process could be started.
Christa de Bruin - Clean Clothes Campaign The Netherlands
1 'Looking for a quick fix. How weak social auditing is keeping workers in sweatshops', 2005.