IndustriALL Global Union and H&M sign GFA
Courtesy: Industriall Global Union
The world's largest sectorial trade union organization, IndustriALL Global Union, representing 50 million workers, and the world's leading garment retailer H&M have together with the Swedish trade union IF Metall have signed a global framework agreement, protecting the interests of 1.6 million garment workers.
This innovative global framework agreement (GFA) marks a new level of commitment to fundamental rights of workers across H&M's supply chain. It covers 1.6 million garment workers that are employed at the around 1,900 factories run by the manufacturers where H&M buys their products, IndustriALL said on its website.
The agreement is based on a shared conviction that collaboration between the parties on the labour market is crucial for lasting improvements for the garment workers and the creation of well-functioning industrial relations.
“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 IndustriALL general secretary Jyrki Raina, one of the architects of the groundbreaking Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh which was first signed by H&M.
H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson said, “Well-functioning industrial relations including collective bargaining are keys to achieving fair living wages and improved working conditions in our supply chain. We believe that the collaboration with IndustriALL and IF Metall will contribute to our already ongoing work within this field as well as help to create stable sourcing markets.”
The agreement includes setting up national monitoring committees, initially planned for countries such as Cambodia, Bangladesh, Myanmar 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 collaboration also aims to promote a well-functioning dialogue between employers and employees in order to solve conflicts peacefully, and primarily at the factory level where they arise.
“The agreement creates a unique system for committees made up of the parties on the labour market, on national as well as international level. Implementing the agreement, primarily through communication and training of trade unions and their member, suppliers and employer associations, but also employers in factories where there are currently no unions, will be the most important task,” said IF Metall president Anders Ferbe.
GFAs are negotiated at the global level between trade unions and companies. They 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.