Labour Behind the Label

Tell Next to respect garment workers’ rights


Feb 21


Workers at a Next factory in Sri Lanka have unionised! But Next refuses to recognise the union.

Tell Next to respect workers rights!

Dear Lord Wolfson,

I am writing to express my disappointment that Next plc is failing to meet its publicly stated business principles on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining in Sri Lanka.

Despite receiving a letter at the start of January 2021 that workers at Next Manufacturing Ltd in Sri Lanka had freely chosen to form a branch of Free Trade Zones & General Services Employees Union (FTZ&GSEU), Next has not even written to acknowledge them, and it has persisted in tactics to ignore, side-line and undermine the trade union. Trade union members have reported threats, intimidation and discrimination. Yet, despite these anti-union actions nearly 50% of your workers at Next Manufacturing Ltd are trade union members, giving them rights to collective bargaining.

The ongoing refusal by Next plc to recognise and engage with the trade union is unacceptable.

I support the call by War on Want and Labour Behind the Label for Next plc to ensure that Next Manufacturing Ltd formally recognises and begins talks with the trade union as a legitimate voice of workers in your factory at the earliest opportunity.

%%your signature%%

1,026 signatures

In January 2021, following a successful action to win back unpaid bonuses, workers at a factory owned by Next formed a new branch of the FTZ&GSEU trade union. Workers reported intimidation, threats and discrimination, but stood firm and now nearly half the workers are members.

Despite multiple requests from us and War on Want, Next have still not recognised and engaged with the workers’ trade union.

Next’s failure to recognise and engage with the trade union is a flagrant display of disrespect for their workers’ rights. Next is falling below its own published Principles for workers’ rights and they should be accountable for this.

It is time we go public on this and we need your help to hold Next accountable.

Workers can improve conditions through collective action!

In December 2020, before the trade union branch was set up, the workers walked out over unpaid bonuses – money workers rely on as their poverty wages are not enough to survive on. As a result of this collective action, Next agreed to pay up.

Worker’s must be able to form unions in order to negotiate with their employers. It is essential in the fight for better working conditions for garment workers that Next formally recognises and engages with the workers’ union, respecting and not undermining their right to collective bargaining through a trade union they have freely chosen to join.


Take action

Tell Next to abide by their own stated policies and agree to act on them by recognising trade unions and engaging in collective bargaining. Take action and email Lord Wolfson, Next’s chief executive, asking him to formally recognise and engage with the trade union.