Unions in the textile, garment, shoe and leather sectors in the Middle East and North Africa met in Casablanca, Morocco from 26-27 August, to coordinate the implementation of the agreement with Inditex.
A major focus of the meeting was on coordinating union activity to use the global framework agreement signed between IndustriALL Global Union and Inditex, the Spanish clothing giant that owns Zara and a number of other brands.
The meeting was attended by IndustriALL affiliates from Morroco (SNTHC-CDT and SNTTC-UMT), Tunisia (FGTHCC-UGTT), Jordan (JTGCU) and Turkey (Öz İplik-İş and TEKSIF). A delegation from the Federation of Garment and Textile Industries Workers is Egypt was unable to attend.
A session was held to raise awareness of how IndustriALL uses global framework agreements, highlighting the growing recognition of these agreements within international organizations, such the ILO and the OECD.
María Morell Camacho, from the corporate social responsibility department of Inditex, gave a detailed presentation on the company’s overall global sourcing strategy and the role of the agreement with IndustriALL. Inditex regional sustainability manager Mohammed Zeggaf Tahri spoke about how the company operated in the region.
This was followed by a session exploring the implementation of the agreement in Turkey, by Murat Akkun, from the Inditex sustainability department in Turkey, and industrial relations expert Dr Sedat Kaya.
Affiliates then discussed organizing priorities and social dialogue, with a focus on building regional and sectoral trade union networks, using global agreements to improve local conditions.
The affiliates exchanged experiences, organizing successes and challenges. Affiliates from Inditex sourcing countries (Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Turkey) affirmed their commitment to work together to exchange information and establish an Inditex regional network to implement the agreement on a national and regional basis.
The delegation from Jordan requested that Inditex consider sourcing from Jordan. They would welcome a visit from IndustriALL and Inditex sourcing and buying teams.
The meeting planned a series of event to implement the agreement.
In Morocco, an awareness raising meeting will be held with key Inditex suppliers. After discussion with Inditex, an industrial relations and social dialogue programme will be launched in two factories, Morosco and Best Invest.
For Tunisia, a meeting and two factory visits are planned. Initially, the unions would meet each other, before meeting suppliers. Non-union suppliers would also be invited.
Delegates from Egypt will be invited to attend one of the meetings to gain the experience they missed.
The Turkish delegation will seek clarity from Inditex about which Turkish suppliers also work in Morocco, Egypt, and Tunisia.
María Morell Camacho of Inditex said:
"Through cooperation and dialogue with local unions we are building bridges and creating tools for workers’ empowerment in the region. Inditex’s GFA with IndustriALL is not only a commitment, it reflects how we envision a sustainable supply chain: the worker always at the centre."
Christina Hajagos-Clausen, IndustriALL director for the textile and garments sectors, said:
“We made a lot of progress, and took some really important practical steps. If we work strategically, we can use the global framework agreement with Inditex to make a huge difference to the garment and textile supply chain in the region.”