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LONDON – A new report published today by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) suggests that trade union members in apparel manufacturing supply chains have been unfairly targeted for dismissal over recent months, with unscrupulous bosses using the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to union bust.

Across just nine sites in key manufacturing nations, 4,870 have been contentiously dismissed with a large majority still out of work as factory bosses evaded punishment. The BHRRC, with support from likeminded initiatives, hopes customer brands, including H&M, Bestseller and Primark, can step up to the plate in addressing such instances and go beyond basic policy commitments.  

The organisation says: Brands need to improve direct engagement with workers, provide access to effective remedy, and also overhaul their own purchasing practices which increase factories’ hostility to unions – for example, by paying prices that take into consideration the financial costs of labour and social compliance. Even where policies protecting freedom of association and collective bargaining do exist, these are also under threat in the current context.”

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