21th August 2008
Triumph Head Office in Hong Kong
#133 Hoi Bun Road
7th Floor Piazza Building
Kowloon, Hong Kong
We, Malaysian Trades Union Congress write to express our concern on behalf of the workers of Body Fashion garment factory or Triumph International (Thailand) Ltd. On 29 July 2008, the president of Triumph International Labour Union Thailand in Samut Prakarn, Thailand , Ms.Jitra Cotshadet, was dismissed by the factory. The excuse of the dismissal is that during a television interview about reproductive rights, Ms.Jitra wore a campaign T-shirt supporting Chotisak Onsoong who refused to stand up during the King’s Royal Anthem in the cinema. We believe this is an abuse of the Lesse Majeste law especially because Ms. Jitra made no reference to the campaign for Chotisak nor the Body Fashion company.
A strike by virtually all of the 3,700 factory workers of Body Fashion had begun on 30 July demanding the reinstatement of Ms.Jitra. Instead of communicating with the workers, the management tried to fire all 20 union leaders and mete out disciplinary punishment to other workers.
We believe that the management of Body Fashion garment factory actually used the Lesse majeste Law to have Ms. Jitra dismissed and consequently set out to destroy the union. These actions clearly violate the workers’ rights to association and freedom of expression and are inconsistent with Triumph’s international reputation.
In support of the workers, we hereby urge that the management of Triumph International (Thailand ) Ltd:
• reinstate union leader Ms.Jitra Cotshadet, President of International Triumph Labour Union-Thailand;
• stop punishing the striking workers who support Ms.Jitra;
• dismiss corrupt and irresponsible management officials defaming Ms. Jitra based on unreasonable allegations of Lesse Majeste;
• stop using the Lesse Majeste Law to destroy the union;
• ensure the right of the International Triumph Labour Union of Thailand to exist and represent the workers