On 22 September, eight major apparel brands released a joint letter urging Mexico’s government to comply with an ILO request for reforms to the country’s Federal Labour Law to ensure greater respect for the right of workers to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
The brand’s letter specifically points to the problem of protection contracts that “allows the registration of collective agreements by trade unions that cannot demonstrate the support of the majority of workers they intend to represent, by means of a democratic election process.” It notes that many Mexican workers still don’t have access to copies of these agreements.
Signatories to the joint letter include: Adidas Group, American Eagle Outfitters, New Balance, Nike, Patagonia, Puma, PVH, and The Walt Disney Company.
The letter is an initiative of the multi-stakeholder Mexico Committee, in which IndustriALL Global Union participates.
Mexico is under growing pressure from governments, democratic unions and the ILO to implement concrete measure to guarantee that workers can exercise their right to be represented by the union of their free choice and to bargain collectively,
says IndustriALL assistant general secretary Fernando Lopes.
We applaud these brands for adding their voice to the call for freedom of association in Mexico.
According to Lopes, over the past few years, the Mexico Committee has been grappling with the question of what brands can do to deal with the problem of protection contracts and other barriers to freedom of association in their Mexican supplier factories. In addition to IndustriALL, the Committee includes a number of US and European apparel and sportswear brands, the Fair Labor Association, and the Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN).
The joint letter also expresses the hope that Mexico will take concrete steps to ensure that positive reforms made to the country’s Federal Labour Law in 2012 are fully implemented at the local level. These include requirements for greater transparency of collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) and union registrations and bylaws, as well as the urgent revision of clauses in CBAs that permitted the firing of workers who are expelled from or voluntarily resign from an unrepresentative union.
The letter also expresses the brands’ support for Mexico signing ILO Convention 98 on the right to organize and bargain collectively.