Some of the leading global apparel brands have expressed concern over the recent directive of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) to its members that Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) staff seeking access to garment factories for monitoring visits should be accompanied by officials of the Cambodian Government and/or possess letters from the Government authorizing such access to any factory, The Phnom Penh Post reported.
Thirteen major apparel buyers, including Nike, H&M, Gap, Levi’s and Puma have signed a letter to GMAC expressing concern over the association’s directive asking members to use discretion prior to admitting monitors, who are not accompanied by government officials, the report said.
In their letter, the clothing brands have requested the GMAC to withdraw its September 30 notice to its members and make no further effort to undermine the operations of BFC.
The brands have asked the GMAC to take a broader and long-term view of the potential negative implications on trade with Cambodia, due to its directive.
The GMAC issued a directive to its members after the BFC last month announced it would resume publicly disclosing reports on labour standards in garment factories of Cambodia.
GMAC fully supports the push for greater transparency within the garment industry. However, it strongly opposes the fact that stakeholders are not given ample time and opportunity to provide feedback before the launch of public disclosure program, the GMAC statement said.
Sat Samoth, Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Labor and also the current chairman of the Project Advisory Committee of BFC, had also underlined the need for further discussions. The GMAC statement quoted him as saying, “If buyers have this information and they decide to cancel an order or put a sanction on a factory in Cambodia, it will have many drawbacks: The factory loses, the worker loses, Cambodia loses.”