ITF urges Esprit to join Levi in Malagasy 43 support

The ITF and local Madagascan union SYGMMA have urged international garment manufacturer Esprit to join with Levi Straus & Co and help end the exploitation of Madagascan dockers.

The call was backed with the launch of a report on 29 May highlighting the double standards in the company’s supply chain, alongside global actions at Esprit stores.

ITF president and dockers’ section chair Paddy Crumlin said the union was seeking the intervention of Esprit, which uses the Port of Toamasina (Tamatave) in Madagascar, in a worsening dispute with the Madagascan government and port operator ICTSI.

Forty-three workers fighting for better wages and against dangerous conditions were sacked after refusing to leave their union, which they had just joined. Most are struggling to survive. Madagascar’s supreme court ruled that the workers should be re-instated but the government has refused so far to enforce the decision. The Madagascan government also faces an International Labour Organisation (ILO) complaint over the dispute.

Mr Crumlin commented: “Levi Strauss has demonstrated industry leadership and responded positively to the ITF when we briefed them on the situation in Madagascar. They have recognised the ‘hidden workforce’ that forms part of their supply chain and been prepared to take concrete steps to support these workers.

“The ITF is challenging Esprit to step up and support a just resolution to this dispute. International brands need to recognise that workers who move their products to market deserve to be treated fairly. Levi understood that its customers expect an ethical supply chain – that includes dockworkers – Esprit must do the same.”

Download the report, Esprit: End the double standards in your supply chain, and find out more about the dispute at

Follow developments on social media using #justice4dockworkers.

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