World’s leading apparel retailer H&M, which has 1.6 million garment factory workers working at around 1,900 factories across the globe that manufacture goods for H&M has signed an innovative global framework agreement (GFA) along with world’s largest sectorial trade union organization IndustriALL Global Union, which represents 50 million workers, and Swedish trade union IF Metall. The agreement marks a new level of commitment by the collaborating parties to fundamental rights of the workers, and promises to bring about lasting improvements in the condition of garment workers and creation of well-functioning industrial relations.
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“This agreement opens an exciting new chapter in the relationship between IndustriALL Global Union and H&M. It cements the path towards a sustainable garment industry with unionized workforce, constructive labour-management relations, living wages through industry level collective agreements, and safe workplaces,” said Jyrki Raina, General Secretary, IndustriALL, who was also one of the architects behind Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which was first signed by H&M.
Under the agreement, national monitoring committees will be set up, initially in countries like Myanmar, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Turkey to safeguard the implementation of the agreement from the factory floor upwards, and to facilitate a dialogue between the parties on the labour market.
The GFA establishes:
- The parties will jointly promote signing of collective agreements both at factory, company and industrial level between relevant social partners
- Workers have the right to refuse unsafe work as part of their health and safety rights
- The parties will provide training for both management and union representatives on employers’ responsibilities, workers’ rights and obligations, industrial relations, collective bargaining agreements and peaceful conflict resolution
- H&M will actively use all its possible leverage to ensure that its direct suppliers respect human and trade union rights in the workplace
- Workers’ representatives are not discriminated against and have access to carry out their representative functions in the workplace
GFAs establish the best possible standards on trade union rights, on health and safety, and on the labour relations principles adhered to by the company in its global operations, regardless of the standards existing in a particular country.