Inditex GFA in new phase with pilot project in Turkey

09.05.2013

IndustriALL Global Union’s global framework agreement (GFA) with the Spanish-based world’s largest garment retailer Inditex has entered into a new phase of implementation in Turkey through a pilot project bringing together worker and management representatives from supplier factories with training sessions.

Inditex and IndustriALL have developed a Guideline on Free Elections of Workers’ Representatives, and concept paper for a prototypic program covering workers and managers from supplier companies with a view to proper implementation of provisions of the GFA and the protocol on involvement of local unions.

A pilot project in Turkey has started with a workshop in Istanbul on 25 April with participation of around fifty worker and management representatives from four factories supplying to Inditex as well as leaders from IndustriALL and its two Turkish affiliates DISK/Tekstil and Deri-Is. Workers representatives were already elected at the factories concerned through town-hall meetings where the global framework agreement was explained with a particular emphasis on fundamental rights and freedoms.

Following a start with a joint session where the purpose of the project was identified to all the participants, two separate sessions, one with elected employee representatives and another with managers, were organized. Finally the separate groups reconvened in a joint session to share the findings and to frame future work under the GFA.

In the two parallel sessions, Turkish individual and collective labour legislation, ILO Conventions and major axes of the Framework Agreement were specifically discussed through speakers from universities, trade unions and employers’ organizations. A lively debate in the workers’ session focused on particular circumstances with a view to finding ways to handle problems through dialogue, union organizing and collective bargaining. Most of the participants cited that it was their first time having such open discussion about their working and living conditions with a hope for further improvement. Discussions in the session of managers focused on the country's business culture, approaches over corporate social responsibility and working with trade unions in a spirit of dialogue.

At the end, the seminar with representatives of workers and management from supplying factories constituted a breakthrough in forming a solid background for social dialogue within the spirit of the GFA. As a first experience with its pilot character, the seminar identified findings to prepare a basic document that will essentially work on further implementation of the GFA, and serve as preparation of future applications of this method of working.

Attending the seminar, IndustriALL Global Union’s Assistant General Secretary Kemal Özkan commented: “With this first experience, we are now much more convinced that our global framework agreement will continue to play an important role in labour relations in the garment sector. We really want our joint work with Inditex to stand as a good model for the rest of the sector worldwide.”

The project in Turkey will continue at other Inditex supplier factories with the involvement of other IndustriALL affiliates in the sector, Teksif and Öz İplik-İş.