INTERNATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF FREE TRADE UNIONS (ICFTU)
Brussels May 27 1997 (ICFTU OnLine): A former supervisor at a South Korean factory producing sports shoes for export in the Dong Nai province was prosecuted for ill-treating the Vietnamese workers under her charge. She forced 56 workers to run a 4km circuit around the factory in the full heat of the sun for not wearing regulation work shoes. Eight of the women lost consciousness and had to be taken to hospital.
She has just been ordered by a Vietnamese court to pay the medical costs of the eight women workers who had to be hospitalised and to pay for the material damage the 56 women workers suffered for having to absent themselves from work. Wages below the legal minimum for the first three months of employment, highly restrictive limits on the use of toilets, a limit of two glasses of water per working day, verbal abuse, sexual harassment, even corporal punishment...accusations have multiplied over the last few months about the working conditions of the workers, mainly women, employed at the sports shoes factories producing principally for export, for companies such as the US multinational, Nike.
In its annual survey of trade union rights violations to be published in mid-June, the ICFTU expresses its concern over the violent behaviour, both verbal and physical, of certain South Korean employers in Vietnam. Such behaviour, says the ICFTU, is scarcely mentioned in the local press because the labour ministry has been instructed by the South Korean companies not to talk to the press.
Last year, a manager at the Sam Yang Co factory, a sub-contractor for Nike, was found guilty of striking his Vietnamese employees over the head with a shoe.
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