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Ensuring that the Global Framework Agreement with H&M is effective

22 April, 2016The first meeting of the Bangladesh national monitoring committee was held in Dhaka on 21–22 April 2016 to discuss the implementation of the global framework agreement (GFA).

IndustriALL signed the GFA with H&M, the Swedish apparel company in November 2015. The agreement aims to protect the rights of 1.6 million workers in its supply chain of over 1,900 factories around the world.

The GFA proved instrumental in recognizing workers right to freedom of association and collective bargaining in countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan by reinstating workers who were sacked for demanding their rights.

The first meeting of the Bangladesh national monitoring committee (NMC), which will oversee the implementation of GFA, held intensive discussions over issues such as organizational structure, national strategy and the implementation process. The NMC consists of representatives from IndustriALL affiliates and H&M.

Understanding the critical aspects of GFA such as social dialogue, industrial relations, decent work, trade union rights and obligations, employers’ rights and obligation, conflict prevention, peaceful conflict resolution and negotiation in good faith was evolved among the participant.

The NMC came out with a long-term plan to promote workers rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining in the H&M supply chain. They also developed short-term objectives such as education to factory management, 100 per cent dispute resolution and orientation training to textile garments affiliates of IndustriALL Bangladesh Council.

The NMC decided to conduct periodical meetings to take stock of GFA implementation issues and meetings to address dispute resolutions immediately on case-to-case basis.

Christina Hajagos-Clausen, director of IndustriALL textile and garment industry sector stated that the GFA will go a long way in improving social dialogue, industrial peace and developing well-functioning industrial relations in Bangladesh.

Kutubuddin Ahmed, vice chair of IndustriALL Bangladesh Council said that, “with the H&M GFA IndustriALL created new horizons. If implemented effectively, it will be a new era for workers welfare in Bangladesh”.

Under the GFA implementation structure, social partners at the factory level will deal with industrial disputes. The NMCs will be formed in five countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Turkey to oversee the implementation issues at national level.

The Joint Industrial Relations Development Committee consisting of H&M, IndustriALL and IF Metal representatives will work on practical issues of GFA implementation at the global level and as required provide support and guidance to NMCs.