Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ten months ago Fibres and Fabrics International (FFI) and its subsidiary Jeans Knit Pvt. Ltd (JKPL) asked for an received a gag order against Indian labour organizations to silence them from speaking on labour standard violations in the FFI/JKPL factories. The unions that had denounced such things as high workload, forced overwork, physical and psychological abuse and non payment of overtime include GATWU and NTUI. Other local organizations included in the gag order include Munnade and Cividep. The order orginally issued on July 28th, 2006 was renewed in February of this year, and there is no indication that the silenced organizations will ever be granted legal freedom of speech by the local courts.
The Clean Clothes Campaign, along with the India Committee of the Netherlands have taken up the campaign to speak out for the silenced unionists and civil activists in Bangalore. FFI/JKPL makes clothes for such companies as G-Star, the Gap, Armani, Mexx, Guess and RaRe. The CCC has been pressuring these customers of FFI to demand that the manufacturer withdraw their application for the gag order so that workers in Bangalore may once more have free speech. Some of the retailers have replied. Others have not. The CCC is looking for signatories who will add their names to an email petition to the companies involved, asking those who have not expressed support for lifting the gag order to do so and asking those who have done so to follow up their previous actions.

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