19 June 2014, Thursday

Marc Bolland, Marks and Spencer CEO

Strongly demand Marks and Spencer and supplier Grosby Footwear (Shenzhen) Ltd. to resolve the labor disputes

Shenzhen-based Grosby footwear factory workers went on strike on 26 May 2014. They reported about late payment of wages and insurance, while the older employees were particularly concerned about seniority benefits, medical reimbursement, and long-term employment protection. Between 5 and 12 June, instead of communicating with workers and trade union representatives over the work-related problems, Grosby dismissed in three batches of a total 51 strikers. On 17 June, management stepped up the pressure and dismissed a further 129 strikers. Meanwhile, the hiring of dispatched workers to break the strike has sped up.

In response to Grosby workers’ urgent call, SACOM demands Marks and Spencer (and other buyers) to immediately investigate the labor conflicts. Marks and Spencer must ensure that supplier factory workers fully exercise their rights to collective bargaining.

SACOM calls on Marks and Spencer to take supply chain responsibility and to collaborate with Grosby:

1.      Reinstate the totally 180 dismissed workers;

2.      Settle the strikes by engaging with worker representatives to find common solutions;

3.      Protect workers’ rights to decent wages, social insurance, job security, and democratic union elections in accordance with the Chinese labor law and international norms.

SACOM requests Marks and Spencer to acknowledge the receipt of this letter and report the progress of dispute resolution on or before 23 June, Monday. Thanks for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Alexandra Chan (SACOM Project Officer)

cc.:   Jenny Chan (SACOM Advisor)

Chun-Yi Lee (University of Nottingham)

Tim Pringle (SOAS, University of London)