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September 2018 E-News

We’re Hiring! Two Job Openings at ILRF
Join Us in NYC on Oct 1: Protest Forced Labor in Turkmenistan
Observing the 6th Anniversary of the Ali Enterprises Factory Fire
New Bangladeshi Minimum Wage is Only Half of Garment Workers‘ Demand
25 CSOs Urge Thai Government to Ratify ILO Convention 188
RSPO Decision on ILRF Labor Complaint Imminent

We’re Hiring! Two Job Openings at ILRF

ILRF is recruiting for two positions to be part of our team in Washington, D.C. The Director of Finance and Administration will play a critical role in strategic decision making and operations with the goal of strengthening internal organizational capacity. The Executive Assistant will support the organization’s communications, administration, and fundraising, working closely with both development and campaigns staff. Please share this announcement with qualified candidates who would be excited to bring their financial, fundraising, communications and administrative skills to supporting ILRF’s advocacy for labor rights and corporate accountability.

We're hiring!

Join Us in NYC on Oct 1: Protest Forced Labor in Turkmenistan

On October 1st, the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, will be speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Turkmenistan continues to force teachers, doctors, nurses, and government employees to pick cotton during the harvest season, which is happening now. On top of this, children are still being forced to participate in the cotton industry. Join us in telling the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres and the Turkmen President that enough is enough. If you are not able to join, please sign our petition to free journalist Gaspar Matalaev and share it with your network.
Please join us: Monday, October 1st, 12 – 2 p.m. at Ralph Bunche Park, 1st Ave. &, E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017.

End forced labor in Turkmenistan

Observing the 6th Anniversary of the Ali Enterprises Factory Fire

Six years ago, the Ali Enterprises factory in Karachi, Pakistan, went up in flames. The factory employed hundreds of workers, but only had one exit. At least 260 workers died while trapped inside. This was the deadliest fire ever in a garment factory. After the fire, a major campaign ensued that ultimately secured compensation from German company KiK for the affected families. Last week, representing ILRF, Liana Foxvog joined memorial events organized by unions and the Ali Enterprises Factory Fire Affectees Association, including a press conference at the Karachi press club and a rally in front of the burned out building. A number of speakers underscored that Pakistan’s garment factories aren’t any safer than six years ago. Several organizations recently filed a joint complaint to the OECD National Contact Point in Rome against Italian auditor RINA, which had certified the factory as compliant with Social Accountability International’s labor rights standard, SA8000, only weeks before the fire broke out. RINA is still accredited by SAI, through its department, Social Accountability Accreditation Services.

Memorial for the workers who died in the Ali Enterprises factory fire

New Bangladeshi Minimum Wage is Only Half of Garment Workers‘ Demand

On September 13th, Bangladesh raised the minimum wage for its 4 million garment workers, for the first time since 2013. The new monthly minimum wage of 8,000 taka ($95), half of the 16,000 taka demanded by workers, still leaves Bangladesh as paying the lowest wage of any major apparel exporting country. The 16,000 taka demand garnered broad and unified support from trade unions, NGOs and labor rights groups across the world. Workers are demonstrating and preparing for possible strikes over the wage figure, which union leaders say fails to take into account inflation and other factors.

Demonstration in Bangladesh

25 CSOs Urge Thai Government to Ratify ILO Convention 188

The Thai government is wavering on its commitment to ratify ILO Convention 188, the only international convention that specifically covers working and living conditions on commercial fishing vessels. ILRF views this convention as necessary to address issues of forced labor and human trafficking in the Thai fishing industry. In August, the Thai Seafood Working Group facilitated sign-ons for a joint civil society statement urging the Thai government to follow through on its promise of ratifying C.188, and ILRF was a signatory to this letter. ILRF is currently engaging with US brands to garner industry support on this issue.

Fishing vessel

RSPO Decision on ILRF Labor Complaint Imminent

Next week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the complaints panel of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) will meet to decide whether to suspend the membership of Indonesian palm oil grower Indofood. Nearly two years ago, ILRF co-filed a complaint with Rainforest Action Network and Indonesian labor rights NGO OPPUK documenting child labor, exposure to toxic pesticides, and poverty wages taking place on palm oil plantations owned by Indofood, a major supplier to Pepsi and other snack food companies. A suspension would mark the first time the RSPO has taken formal disciplinary action against a corporate member and increase the pressure on Indofood and Pepsi to deliver meaningful change for workers.

Palm oil worker


Please consider joining ILRF as a monthly donor to help sustain our ability to stand with labor rights defenders around the world.

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