Top brands probe ‘union-busting’ as virus spurs sackings at factories in Asia

Major brands including carmaker BMW and fashion label Zara are investigating reports of mass sackings of union workers in their supply chains, amid fears from labour advocates that coronavirus has fuelled ‘union-busting’ at factories across Southeast Asia.

As the pandemic batters the global economy, numerous Western retailers have cancelled orders or demanded discounts from suppliers in countries such as Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand, leading to many workers going without pay or being sacked.

Unions and activists in the region said factory bosses were targeting and firing union members while keeping on non-unionised workers, and feared that the outbreak could spur a rollback of rights on issues from decent pay to safe workplaces.

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