The global framework agreement (GFA) between IndustriALL Global Union and Spanish retail giant Inditex, was the basis for a meeting in Ho Chi Mihn City, Vietnam, where discussions centred on the creation of a national Inditex trade union network.
The meeting in March brought together VNUTGW factory level union leaders from the Southern provinces of Vietnam to discuss how to implement the existing GFA, and to ensure that international labour standards are followed in the over 100 Inditex suppliers and subcontractors.
IndustriALL Global Union, its Spanish affiliate Industria-CC.OO, the Vietnamese trade union centre VGCL and German foundation Friedrich Ebert Stiftung brought their expertise on organizing in Inditex’s global supply chain and making the GFA relevant for a local context.
The plan to develop the network has been progressing since 2015 when IndustriALL, together with the VGCL, Vietnamese garment union VNUTGW, and the FES launched a series of workshops to discuss organizing in the country’s garment and shoe industry.
IndustriALL textile and garment industry director Christina Clausen, encouraged participants to
use the GFA to build a network that develops solidarity and an exchange of information among factory level union leaders.
Isidor Boix, from Industria-CC.OO and IndustriALL’s coordinator for implementation of the GFA with Inditex, said that the network is interesting both for the workers in Vietnam and global trade unionism.
This is about defending labour rights in the global supply chain and organising workers in factories producing for the big brands.
Workers at Inditex factories discussed issues faced at work, like long working hours, widespread use of precarious work, low wages, hot, dusty and noisy work environment, violation of workers’ rights, a lack of real collective bargaining, and a reluctance from the employer’s side to pay full-time shop stewards and to allow time for union activity to build sound labour relations.
Through IndustriALL’s union building project and in cooperation with the VGCL and VNUTGW, collective bargaining training for the shop stewards of Inditex suppliers is focusing on how to improve the quality of CBA. Implementing the GFA inside supplier factories by instructing leaders on international standards such as ILO core conventions and OECD Guidelines is another important issue.
Erwin Schweisshelm, country director of FES Vietnam said:
FES is supporting the process as part of our global trade union program.