Rising Sun Shuts Down - Workers Fight Back!

After months of illegally smuggling sewing machines out of the factory, Rising Sun shut down last week. This is yet another example of garment factories cutting and running to save their profits by stealing from workers.

Workers at Rising Sun led massive strikes in 2003 to win union recognition which resulted in major improvements in the factory, including increased pay and better working conditions. By 2005, however, the collective bargaining agreement expired and Rising Sun began aggressively trying to kick out the union by refusing to negotiate with workers' elected leaders. This May, Rising Sun illegally fired all union members in the factory and replaced them with casual workers who are paid less, receive no benefits and cannot join the union. None of the fired workers were paid their full terminal benefits. Now that workers are fighting back, the factory owners would rather shut down than treat their workers fairly and pay them what they are owed.

The struggle is not over! Yesterday, workers were able to win a court order blocking the remaining property at Rising Sun from leaving the zone. This means that now police will be guarding the factory 24 hours per day to prevent the remaining 200 sewing machines, factory vehicles and other equipment from leaving the country until the court case is resolved. To win this major victory, the workers collectively contributed over $200 for court and legal fees. Workers are staying strong and organized - and they need our support!

What can we do now?
  1. Tell Steve and Barry's University Sportswear and Jones Apparel Group that cutting and running from Kenya is NOT acceptable! Rising Sun should be reopened under fair conditions that respect workers rights. Buyers should give firm commitments that they will place longterm orders at Rising Sun if they agree to pay all locked-out workers their terminal dues, end all blacklisting of worker leaders and negotiate fairly with the workers' elected union.
  2. Keep screening the video and protesting Steve and Barry's and Jones to demand justice for the locked-out Rising Sun workers!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello all,am very much happy that the isssue with Rising sun epz ltd has gone this far,kudos to all the concerned for doing the donkey work to ensure that all human are treated fairly in matters concerning labour issue. However, i would like to raise one issue here concerning the other buyers Risng Sun is dealng with;we had major lables under the JONES APPAREL GROUP who were the main buyer prior to the workers unrest,the current buyer who is on the spotlit sub-contracted some few gamrnets to Rising Sun, of which the its over now.My main point here is would it be possible also to compel the JONES APPAREL GROUP and its associates to sunctionthe owner of the company to finalise the case with the employees as a matter of urgency.Currently as i write this comment no work is going on in the factory,some machines and fabric have been shippid to Both Unitex Fashion,India and Rising Sun Garments ,Srilanka;the casual employees have not yet been paid their due they worked upto December,salaries of the staff members have not yet been paid up to date the 14/12/06, the court case is kept on "the adjounment file" severally,so nobody knows how long the case might take.In general i am trying to bring into focus on what state this company is and how much the mistreatment the employees are going through in their hands of the rich in the name of investors.Furthermore, those employees who were locked out have suffered alot since june,2006 due to lose of source of income.In my view the owner who is in Srilanka has lost hope in his investment and he's only waiting for a chance for the whole issue to go under the carpet in whatever means possible.they are so many issue to be highlighted here, with the few i would like to say thanks for all who are ensuring that justice may prevail upon the poor kenyas in the name of former employees of Rising Sun epz ltd.

Thanks alot,
Current employee
Rising Sun Kenya Epz Ltd,Athiriver