international library for a responsable world of solidarity ritimo

Le portail rinoceros d’informations sur les initiatives citoyennes pour la construction d’un autre monde a été intégré au nouveau site Ritimo pour une recherche simplifiée et élargie.

Ce site ( constitue une archive des articles publiés avant 2008 qui n'ont pas été transférés.

Le projet rinoceros n’a pas disparu, il continue de vivre pour valoriser les points de vue des acteurs associatifs dans le monde dans le site Ritimo.

Honduras: Union leaders under threat

1,800 workers at the Jerzees de Honduras factory in Honduras are facing the prospect of unemployment after Russel Corporation closed the factory in February 2009. The closure followed a long campaign by the SITRAJERZEESH union, who had finally won the right to represent workers at the factory. Since the closure was announced several union leaders have received credible threats to their safety and their lives.

In 2007, workers at Jerzees de Honduras won a hard-fought struggle for union representation - an unprecedented victory in an industry where workers’ rights are rarely respected. However in October 2008, just days after negotiations came to a standstill, Russell Athletic announced their decision to close the factory.

Since then management has openly blamed union members for the closure of the plant. This has created a perception among workers that they are about to lose their livelihoods because of the actions of union activists. Over the last few months union leaders have received numerous threats against their lives. The threat of violence in Honduras is real: last year the leader of the country’s largest union federation was assassinated after a meeting regarding the closure of a different maquila factory.

Russell continues to maintain that the economic reasons were central to its decision, however it would seem its customers are not convinced. Following a campaign by the Workers Right Consortium and United Students Against Sweatshops over a dozen US universities have cancelled their contracts with Russell Corporation as result of code of conduct breaches at Jerzees de Honduras.

* Take action:

Luxury Brands Drag Their Feet, DESA Workers Fight for Their Lives

Think it’s fair for a woman to be fired just because she joined a union? If not, then buyers at the DESA factory in Turkey – including Prada, Debenhams, M&S, Mulberry, Aspinalls of London, Nicole Fahri and Luella – need to hear from you today!

As we approach the first anniversary of the beginning of the union struggle at DESA, workers are still protesting every day outside the factory to demand the reinstatement of 44 workers dismissed for organising a union.

In December 2008 and April 2009 the Turkish court confirmed that 25 workers had been illegally dismissed as a result of union activities and demanded their reinstatement. DESA decided to appeal the court’s decision. No new evidence was brought by DESA to the recent court hearings – an indication that the appeal is just another attempt to delay the process. This is a common tactic to drag out disputes in the hope that workers will be forced to end their campaign through economic hardship.

Thai Labour Court Gives Triumph Factory the Green Light to Violate Human Rights

On November 27, 2008, a Bangkok labour court gave Body Fashion Thailand, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Triumph International, the green light to dismiss union president Jitra Kotshadej.

The company filed a case against Ms. Kotshadej in relation to her participation, during her private time, in a national television debate wearing a t-shirt saying: ‘Those who do not stand are not criminals. Thinking differently is not a crime.’ The t-shirt refers to the right of people not to stand when the royal anthem is played and the abuse of lèse-majesté legislation to suppress political opposition.

Claiming that her appearance damaged the company’s reputation, Body Fashion Thailand first dismissed Ms. Kotshadej in July 2008 after an earlier labour court hearing.

In response, more than 2000 of her co-workers walked out to demand her reinstatement. After a 45-day strike, the company and the union agreed to a retrial of the dismissal case, since Ms. Kotshadej, who had never been properly informed of the company’s charges against her, was not able to present a defence at the initial labour court hearing.

* Read more

* Take action to support the Triumph workers union

Tell Triumph that Fashion Requires Freedom: Reinstate Thai Union President Now!

Body Fashion Thailand, a subsidiary of Triumph International, has fired a union leader for wearing a political t-shirt. Thousands of workers are protesting her unjust dismissal.

On July 30, 2008, a Thai subsidiary of Triumph International, one of the world’s largest makers of intimate apparel, dismissed union president Jitra Kotshadej for wearing an unfashionable t-shirt. She wasn’t wearing the t-shirt at work, and it wasn’t the colour or the design of the t-shirt that caused offence. It was the message that caused the problem: ‘Those who do not stand are not criminals. Thinking differently is not a crime.’ The t-shirt refers to the abuse of lèse-majesté legislation to suppress political opposition and the right of people to refrain from standing during the royal anthem. Ms. Kotshadej was participating in a late night TV debate on women’s reproductive rights when she wore the t-shirt. Despite the fact that she was speaking in her private time and did not claim to speak for Triumph’s Body Fashion (Thailand) Ltd Factory, she was dismissed. Since then, 3000 of her co-workers walked out of the factory in a show of solidarity, demanding the reinstatement of their union president.

  • Please support the Triumph International workers in Thailand, and call for the immediate reinstatement of their union president. Write today to Triumph International’s headquarters in Switzerland :

Tell Chinese officials: release innocent workers, bring corrupt owner to justice

On February 13, the seventh day of the Chinese New Year, some 700 workers at the Panyu Li Chang Footwear Co. Ltd in Panyu district of Guangzhou City returned from their New Year holiday. They were expecting to receive their back wages - estimated to be around 2,000 Yuan per worker - and resume work. Instead, they found that the owner had stolen their wages, closed the factory and sold all the equipment. The gates to the factory and their living quarters were locked. Dozens of long-term workers discovered that the owner had not paid their social insurance and other entitlements for around ten years. Others found that payments had not been made for the last nine months despite being deducted from their monthly wages.

In an attempt to seek justice, approximately 400 workers peacefully walked from the factory to the Guangzhou Municipal government offices. The police stopped the workers and detained about 50 of them. Five were formally arrested and detained on criminal charges for illegal assembly and demonstration.

For more information about this campaign on the Clean Clothes Campaign website:

© rinoceros - Ritimo in partnership with the Fph via the project dph and the Ile de France region via the project Picri. Site developed using SPIP, hosted by Globenet. Legal mentions - Contact