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Strengthening the Coats network

16 October, 2023Trade union leaders of Coats factories worldwide met in a hybrid meeting in Casablanca, Morocco, from 5-6 October to review the networks’ 2023 strategic workplan and to further strengthen global cooperation. 

Over the two-day meeting, participants shared collective bargaining experiences, contract language improvements and challenges.

IndustriALL general secretary Atle Høie addressed the attendees and highlighted the need for constructive relations with multinational companies and the importance of creating common policies and solidarity among unions.

Members further discussed the importance of trade union networks in building power in the supply chain, emphasizing that Coats, a large multinational company, has facilities in over 50 countries and has recently purchased Rhenoflex and Texon. The role of shop floor members was highlighted, along with the importance of making them aware they are part of a larger network of workers' power in the supply chain.

The networks’ website is a valuable tool for increasing cross-broader connections between Coats union members.

Coats’ global HR department presented on the company's initiatives to increase diversity, particularly in gender, and create a culture of belonging. The meeting also focused on the need to organize all Coats factories worldwide, improve freedom of association, and strengthen collective bargaining.

In addition, there were plans to formalize the network by proposing the nominations for two co-chairs. The network discussed the need to progress towards a global framework agreement with a company and a working group began work on a draft agreement to be finalized by the end of 2023.

Christina Hajagos-Clausen, IndustriALL’s textile and garment director, said:

“IndustriALL sets up trade union networks to connect all trade unions within a multinational company to increase the exchange of information, improve communication between trade unions in different locations and countries and increase trade union presence within the company.

"This meeting, the 4th annual meeting of the Coats network, demonstrates that cross-border trade union activism and social dialogue are continuously strengthened throughout the Coats’ supply chain.”

The meeting was hosted by Moroccan union, Syndicat National des Travailleurs du Textile et du Cuir - SNTTC-UMT, who recently organized the Casablanca Coats factorywho recently organized the Casablanca Coats factory.

Al-Arabi Hamouk, SNTTC-UMT general secretary, said: 

"During our ongoing organizing campaign, supported by IndustriALL, we have organized Coats in Morocco. The company's workers still have outstanding legitimate demands that are being discussed with local management. Our membership in the Coats global network is crucial for our efforts to improve working conditions in the Morocco site, as well as to establish an effective global social dialogue with the company."