The Malta Independent 23 July 2019, Tuesday

Leisure Clothing denies German MEP's claims of 'extreme forms' of exploitation

Thursday, 10 March 2016, 11:10 Last update: about 4 years ago

The Board of Directors and Management of Leisure Clothing Ltd have denied allegations made against them, after German MEP and Chair of the EU Parliamentary Committee on Employment and Social Affairs Thomas Handel drew attention to the alleged exploitation of North Korean workers in Malta, sending letters to a number of EU agencies.

The project ‘Facing Finance’, which identifies companies worldwide that profit form breaching international norms and standards concerning human- and labour rights, environmental protection, controversial weapons and corruption, had also mentioned the situation in a bulletin post.

“According to the German radio channel Deutschlandfunk, Vietnamese, Chinese and North Korean workers are being exploited in a Maltese textile factory, ‘Leisure Clothings’, which produces luxury goods for brands like Armani,” Facing Finance wrote.

“Instead of receiving the mandatory minimum wage of €700 per month, the workers are paid €75 for working 14 hours a day, with only one free day every two weeks”.

These were published in an article run by this newsroom last February called “Alleged exploitation of North Korean workers in Malta highlighted in European Parliament”.

In a letter dated February 19, however received by this newsroom yesterday, the Board of Directors of the company said – “The contents of these references are specious and downright lies which have the sole scope to harm leisure clothing Ltd and not to fight or protect the rights of the workers to which the article refers”.

“All employees engaged with Leisure Clothing Ltd are engaged under terms and conditions that are statutorily imposed by Maltese applicable legislation. The terms and conditions of the employees engaged with Leisure clothing Ltd have been verified by officials of Malta’s Labour Relations Department, who conduct regular and sporadic checks. These terms and conditions have also been made subject to an Independent Audit conducted by an internationally reputable audit company”.

“None of the employees engaged by Leisure clothing have been or are being subjected to ‘extreme forms’ of exploitation. This accusation is none other than a spurious lie”.

 The full text of the right of reply reads: “The Board of Directors and Management of Leisure Clothing Limited make reference to the article titled Alleged exploitation of North Korean workers in Malta highlighted in European Parliament, which was published in the Malta Independent of the 18 February, and on the Malta Independent web portal.

The article refers to a letter sent by the German MEP Thomas Handel send to the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights in which he reported what he termed “extreme forms” of exploitation of North Korean workers in Malta.

The article also makes reference to the project “Facing Finance” and quotes the German Radio channel Deutschlandfunk as stating “Vietnamese, Chinese and North Korean workers are being exploited in a Malta textile factory ‘Leisure Clothing’.

The article further makes reference to what Facing Finance and namely that ‘instead of receiving the mandatory minimum wage of €700 per month, the workers are paid €75 for working 14 hours a day, with only one free day every two weeks”.

The contents of these references are specious and downright lies which have the sole scope to harm Leisure Clothing Limited and not to fight or protect the rights of the works to which the article refers.

Moreover one would expect that an honourable and scrupulous newspaper would also have sought Leisure Clothing’s reaction to these accusations prior to publishing them.

Once Malta Independent newspaper chose to publish these accusations, which clearly have the aim to subject Leisure Clothing Limited to an attack on its honour, reputation and image, without even seeking Leisure Clothing Limited’s reaction and comments, Leisure Clothing Limited has no other choice but to resort to its rights under Maltese Press Laws and demand the publication forthwith and free of charge by way of contradiction in the Malta Independent newspaper and in the Malta Independent web portal.

All employees engaged with Leisure Clothing Limited are engaged under terms and conditions that are statutorily imposed by Maltese applicable legislation. The terms and conditions of the employees engaged with Leisure Clothing Limited been verified by officials of Malta’s Labour Relations Department, who conduct regular and sporadic checks. These terms and conditions have also been made subject to an Independent Audit conducted by an internationally reputable audit company.

None of the employees engaged by Leisure Clothing Limited have been or are being subjected to ‘extreme forms’ of exploitation. This accusation is none other than a spurious lie.”

 

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