|William AndersonHead of Social & Environmental Affairs – Asia Pacific
|Duncan ScottVP External Products
New Balance Duncan.Scott@newbalance.com
|Glenna GirtleNorth Asia Director of Sustainable Manufacturing Performance
Head of Better Work Asia Buyers’ Forum Sub-group
|Dr. Reiner Hengstmann Global Director of SAFE Supply ChainPuma|
|Scott NovaExecutive Director
Workers Rights Consortium
|Carlota Garcia-ManasHead of Research
EIRIS | Empowering Responsible Investment
24th September 2011
Dear Mr. Anderson, Mr. Scott, Ms. Girtle, Dr. Hengstmann
Pou Yuen Vietnam’s June 2011 Strike –
Independent Investigations To Find Facts About Pou Yuen’s Actions, And About
Workers Arrested, Pushed, Or Otherwise Mistreated After Taking Part
Lan and Thao are among sacked strikers
Further to our previous letter dated 27th July 2011, we write to provide an update and to follow up. To date, our investigations have found the names of 2 workers sacked for taking part in the strike. They are Lan and Thao, both are females in their early 20’s. We could not contact them, as Lan had moved from her last known address and we could not obtain Thao’s address. We also could not find their full names, because no-one knew.
In Vietnam, workers usually introduce themselves by their first names only, and therefore people we spoke with did not know their full names. Workers do not know one another’s ID card numbers. Also, many at Pou Yuen are migrant workers, living in shared rental rooms, they tend to move when they change jobs.
adidas wrote on 29th July to us that it may investigate if we provided “the full name.. ID card no., place of residence” of workers arrested or sacked after the above strike. As you can see, these details are very hard for us to obtain. Yet they are readily available to your companies.
Risk of being seen to be turning a blind eye?
The replies from adidas, Nike’s concurrence, and the silence from New Balance and Puma, indicate that your companies would not try to find the above workers.
That is, your companies would not speak to the newspaper which reported their plights, would not ask Pou Yuen to post notices inviting workers to help your staff find them, would not ask Pou Yuen to give you a list of workers absent just after the strike (therefore presumably sacked or arrested) including their full names, addresses, ID numbers, and would not attempt to contact workers in that list inviting them to be interviewed.
Reportedly, adidas staff interviewed some current workers. But the design of the interviews is peculiar. With some knowledge of statistics, they would know, before interviewing, that the chances of finding the sacked or arrested workers are 0 if they no longer at the company. If they have returned to work, the chances of finding them in the population of some 90,000 workers versus in the above list (of, say, 100) are about a thousand times less likely.
Given that adidas, Nike, New Balance, and Puma could readily find these workers, yet take no action or look where they are least likely to be found, your companies unfortunately run the risk of being seen as turning a blind eye to the oppression inflicted upon these victims.
It is not too late to show shareholders and customers your companies’ leadership in taking CSR seriously. We urge you to consider taking the above actions – asking Pou Yuen to give the list of post-strike absentees and to put up the notices, and contacting the newspaper reporter who reported the sackings and arrests.
We will also continue to look for the victims. When we find them, we will inform you. We may also go to the media. In 2008 when we did this regarding Nike’s Hytex factory in Malaysia, we found that it was effective in getting redress.
In closing, we thank you for agreeing to let us make public your responses to us. We will assume this applies to all correspondences unless stated otherwise.
Trung Doan – Secretary
Telephone + 61 400 466 848