Wednesday, August 25, 2010


The following appeal for solidarity with workers at Viva Global in Gurgaon India comes from the Clean Clothes Campaign.

Union leaders kidnapped: take action now!

Take action now to condemn the kidnapping of two trade union leaders at a Marks & Spencer (M&S) supplier factory in India and call for their immediate and safe return. The kidnappings are part of a brutal attack against 60 workers, which took place as they arrived for work at the Viva Global factory in Gurgaon, India.

The workers were attacked by thugs brandishing hockey and lathi sticks as they arrived for their shift at 9:30am Delhi time on the 25th August 2010. One of the thugs has been identified as the labour contractor used by Viva Global to provide workers to the factory. Sixteen women were severely beaten and two union leaders were kidnapped. Their whereabouts remains unknown.

The attack follows months of union campaigning to improve working conditions at Viva Global. Workers complain of excessive and forced overtime, wages below the minimum wage, verbal and physical abuse, failure to pay mandated social security, lack of drinking water and a host of other serious violations.

Harassment of union members, including threats of dismissal, violence and even death has been increasing at the factory in recent weeks. On Monday 23rd August Viva Global management attempted to prevent workers from entering the factory and made threats against union leaders and workers, who were warned they would be beaten or even shot if they continued their campaign.

The same day a tripartite meeting was held between Viva Global Management the Labour Department and the Garment and Allied Workers Union (GAWU). An agreement was reached that all workers would be reinstated and the threats of violence against workers would immediately cease.

The Viva Global workers, along with a large number of local supporters, are holding an ongoing demonstration outside Viva Global. The President of the union, Anannya Bhattacharjee has declared an indefinite hunger strike until her union colleagues are safely returned.

Updates will be posted on the Twitter feed and Facebook pages of our UK member organisation as news comes in. Sign up to receive these updates at or!/pages/Labour-Behind-the-Label/149595231718129

Please send an email today to Viva Global management to demand that:

•they do everything in their power to ensure that the two kidnapped workers are immediately and safely returned
•all violence and intimidation against union members is stopped immediately
•workers locked out from the factory are reinstated as per the agreement with the Labour Department.
Please go to this link to end the following letter to Viva Global's management.
Letter to Viva Global
Dear Mr Vohra,

I am writing to express my shock and outrage at the kidnapping of two union leaders and the severe beating of sixteen workers, which I understand took place on the morning of August 25th 2010.

I understand that the Garment and Allied Workers Union have taken every effort to engage with your company in order to improve conditions within the Viva Global factory. Instead of respecting the views and rights of your workers it appears Viva Global have instead worked to intimidate and threaten them.

Such attacks on workers are inexcusable and cause the reputation of your factory serious harm. Therefore I urge you to take steps to ensure the immediate and safe return of the two workers. I also call on you to refrain from using violence and intimidation to repress your workers and to comply with the agreement made with by your company at the Department of Labour on the 23rd August to immediately reinstate all contract workers to their previous positions.

Hoping you will resolve this issue as soon as possible,

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