Activists target Fruit of the Loom in ground-breaking international protest

10 Aug 2009

People & Planet joins with students from the US in day of action against trade union busting in Honduras, as university boycott becomes 'biggest ever'.

Banner drop outside Fruit of the Loom's headquarters in Bo'ness, Edinburgh

People & Planet activist drops banner outside Fruit of the Loom headquarters

  • The Workers Rights Consortium, an independent factory monitoring group, has reported extensively on Russell violations in Honduras.

  • In the last two years, Russell fired nearly 2,000 employees from two separate factories simply because the employees spoke out against sweatshop conditions including unsanitary drinking water, wages too low to feed a family and verbal abuse.

  • All of these actions violate universities’ codes of conduct for clothing suppliers, and Russell has failed to remedy the violations, over eight months after universities raised concerns.

Students in the US and the UK have held their first-ever “Transatlantic Day of Action” targeting high-profile workers rights violations by the Fruit of the Loom, which is owned by billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

They showed the magnitude of support for the boycott with a flood of phone calls, emails and colourful protests at company locations. Near Edinburgh, People & Planet students dropped a banner at the company’s headquarters in solidarity with negotiations happening in Washington DC on Friday between a trade union and the clothing giant.

People & Planet alongside USAS (United Students Against Sweatshops) are targeting Russell Corporation and its parent company, Fruit of the Loom, over a factory closure in Honduras after a trade union was formed. Russell is the country’s largest private employer.

“The workers will starve because they got involved in a union.”

Factory supervisor

Nearly 100 universities are already boycotting the company, in the largest universities boycott in history: USAS has pushed 91 US universities to sever ties, including the Universities of California, Duke and Georgetown; and the Universities of York, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Birmingham City University have boycotted in the UK.

“The boycott has spread like wildfire across the US and the UK, costing the company tens of millions of pounds.”

Anna Ray, student at Oxford Brookes

Find out more about the Fruit of the Loom’s actions in Hondurus

Demand that your University joins the boycott