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Inditex supplier unions meet in Hanoi to boost industrial relations

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13 October, 2017Thirty-three trade union leaders from Inditex supplier garment factory unions gathered in Hanoi, Vietnam from 6-7 October, for the second annual meeting to review their network’s activities for 2017, exchange best practices and set the agenda for 2018. 

On the first day of the meeting, representatives from global brands Inditex, H&M and 11 local suppliers also joined the meeting for a session on improving social dialogue and industrial relations.  The meeting is part of a series of national meetings supported by FES, IndustriALL and Inditex in the implementation of the Global Framework Agreement.

Ngo Duy Hieu, Presidium Member and Director of Industrial Relations Department at the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL), opened the meeting saying his organization “highly appreciates such network meetings and that working in such a system brings new experiences and ideas to the Vietnamese labour movement.  The VGCL is committed to supporting the operation and expansion of the network.”

Kevin Bui, Inditex Sustainability Manager, and Candy Nguyen, from H&M Sustainability office, gave detailed interventions on the importance of the global framework agreements and their role in promoting well-functioning industrial relations. A panel discussion took place with suppliers, brands and trade unions on improving industrial relations. The focus of the dialogue was how to improve workers’ rights.

Sister HA, Deputy Director of the VGCL Industrial Relations Department, added that the network was important for improving trade union activities and workers’ rights within the supply chain. She urged local union leaders to focus on increasing wages within the scope of local CBAs.  Internal discussions took place around the role of local unions, upper level unions and core worker groups in the network.  Participating members worked on a check list of guaranteed rights under the GFAs and discussed the importance opening the network to more global brands.  It was further discussed that the network needs to work both on the local factory level but also on a sectorial level.

Christina Hajagos-Clausen, IndustriALL’s director for the textile and garment sector, added:

“Such networks are an important platform for textile and garment unions to engage with global brands and retailers, specifically to ensure workers’ rights on a factory level and to develop grievance mechanisms.”

On 7 October, the World Day for Decent Work, the trade union network members took action to stop precarious work.