Friday, April 18, 2008

PT Victoria Factory - Indonesia



Workers at PT Victoria in Indonesia Protest the FLA

At the end of 2003, workers at the PT Victoria factory in Indonesia were forced to work a 24 hour shift to finish an order for Eddie Bauer. When they returned to the factory on New Year's eve, they found the gates locked and their livelihood taken away. The management of the factory soon fled the country. Even worse, the workers were denied their pay and legal severance! On May 12, 2004 the Indonesian Labor Court ruled that the PT Victoria workers were due the equivalent of one million US dollars. Yet even now the workers have not received their due pay. Many have been living in the abandoned factory and have had to remove their children from school. A union leader has said that this case is "not just a violation of labor rights, but a humanitarian atrocity."

Workers then attempted to inform Eddie Bauer and the Fair Labor Association of the situation. Despite their repeated attempts to contact the FLA and Eddie Bauer, meaningful dialog with the workers was only opened up after USAS began a solidarity campaign. The facts of the case did not change in the year between the closing of the factory and USAS' campaign. Eddie Bauer and the FLA simply denied their responsibility. It's now been two years since the plant closing and an agreement has yet to be reached.

The workers' demands are simple: the only way to resolve this terrible situation is for Eddie Bauer and the owners of Victoria to sit down with the workers face to face and negotiate a payment plan, ensuring the workers receive all of their due wages and severance.

In August 2005 – nearly two years after the factory closed without paying workers’ legally mandated compensation – the FLA participated in a series of meetings with Eddie Bauer and the worker representatives. The FLA and Eddie Bauer public credited themselves for their involvement in these convenings, calling the meetings examples “of their serious efforts to resolve the case.” However, nothing substantive came from the meetings toward actually correcting the nonpayment of wages to the workers. To date, the workers are still owed roughly one million dollars.

To our knowledge, the FLA has not indicated any intention to address the case further.

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