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

Shenzhen-based Grosby footwear factory is the supplier of international brands such as Marks and Spencer and Clarks in which Marks and Spencer is also the biggest buyer. After the lunar New Year holiday this year, workers discovered that there are late payment of wages and insurance, while the senior employees were particularly concerned about seniority benefits, medical reimbursement, and long-term employment protection because of the recent enterprise transformation. Workers went on strike on 26 May 2014. Between 5 and 12 June, instead of communicating with workers and trade union representatives over the work-related problems, Grosby unilaterally dismissed in three batches of a total 51 strikers. On 17 June, management stepped up the pressure and sent out a dismissal list of 129 strikers. It then fired 17 strikers in the next day. 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 and strike. SACOM has sent an open letter to the CEO of Marks and Spencer on 19th of June and request a written reply by 23rd of June.

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

1.      Immediate 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.

Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior

20/6/2014