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NLC's Letter to Metro Group asking them not to Cut and Run

May 18, 2009  |  Share

Click here to view the R.L. Denim/Bangladesh (Metro Group) campaign page


May 18, 2009

Dr. Eckhard Cordes
Chairman of the Management Board and CEO
Metro Group
Schlüterstrasse 1
40235 Düsseldorf

Dear Dr. Cordes:

The R.L. Denim factory is certainly not perfect, but there is no doubt that significant and concrete improvements have been made at the plant in a very short timeframe.  R.L. Denim workers are no longer abused and forced to work seven days a week while being shortchanged of their wages.  Pregnant women now receive their maternity leave with pay.  Fridays are off.   The bathrooms have been cleaned and purified drinking water is now available.  Workers are paid properly and on time.  Death benefits were paid to the parents of Bibi Kulsum Fatema.  Management is now setting up a proper canteen where the workers can eat.  Most importantly, management has agreed to grant open access to two very respected labor and human rights organizations—the National Garment Workers Federation and the Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity—to enter the factory at any time to verify ongoing worker rights improvements.

Every worker we have spoken to is "happily surprised" at the improved conditions and new respect for their rights.  Not a single worker wants the factory to close!  It is the very opposite:  they desperately need these jobs.

There is something terribly wrong about pulling Metro Group's work from the R.L. Denim plant at the exact moment that the factory is being cleaned up and workers rights respected.  For years, Metro Group accounted for the majority of production, even as the R.L. Denim factory failed wage, hour and safety audits.  Given Metro Group's long history with R.L. Denim, how can you possibly justify pulling your work from the factory now that significant worker rights improvements are underway and workers are increasingly satisfied and encouraged with their new rights?

As you know, Bangladesh is among the poorest countries in the world.  Cutting and running from the factory is morally wrong and would only further punish the workers, who have already suffered enough.

Please do the right thing and restore all of Metro Group's orders to the R.L. Denim factory.  In not doing do, the real message the Metro Group would be delivery to workers across the developing world is that if they dare ask for their basic human rights, Metro Group will pull its work and throw them out on the street. 

I am certain this is not the kind of message you want to send.

It would be extremely helpful if your head of compliance and standards could contact me.  Working together I believe it would be very possible to quickly and positively resolve the crisis at R.L. Denim.


Charles Kernaghan

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