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IndustriALL and H&M Group reinforce cooperation to support recovery of global garment industry

15 March, 2021The ongoing pandemic is putting enormous pressure on the global garment industry. IndustriALL Global Union and Swedish fashion giant H&M Group (H&M) are re-affirming their commitment to work together to support the economic and social recovery of the industry through the Covid-19 crisis.

Since the beginning of the crisis, H&M and IndustriALL have acted in different forms, both bilaterally and in multi-stakeholder initiatives. This cooperation has been integral in supporting the supply chain and sector through this period.

IndustriALL and H&M have had a close cooperation on both global and national levels, not least within the national monitoring committees established in six countries under the global framework agreement first signed in 2015.

In order to minimize the impacts of the global Covid-19 pandemic and strengthen the cooperation beyond, H&M and IndustriALL now publicly reaffirm and strengthen their commitments to work together with the suppliers.

“Manufacturing suppliers need stability and predictability to preserve the conditions for employment and income; that is the kind of commitment this joint statement brings. We are working together to help the industry develop strength to recover from the crisis, save jobs and preserve the rights and income of workers.

“This clear sign from H&M to its suppliers is crucial so that our affiliated unions can fully exercise their role to defend jobs, rights, wages and working conditions of the workers along H&M’s supply chain,”

says IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches.

Yosef El - Natour, head of production H&M Group, says:

“The importance of meaningful and close collaboration between companies and trade unions has become even more evident during the pandemic. Only by joining forces - in particular at the factory floor - we can efficiently use our combined leverage and expertise to tackle challenges when it comes to safe-guarding workers’ fundamental rights in the wake of Covid-19.”

The joint agreement includes:

  • strengthening the environment for the respect of freedom of association and collective bargaining rights along H&M’s supply chain
  • promoting social dialogue at all levels as the main way to solve conflicts
  • reaffirming the commitments for responsible purchasing practices through stable orders, fulfilling the payment terms and by fostering conditions that allow suppliers to honor payments to workers and to preserve the level of employment and income
  • requiring all direct suppliers and their subcontractors to implement necessary special protective measures and provide necessary protective equipment
  • working jointly with governments and business organizations to promote their engagement under the ILO Call to Action and similar initiatives

“This joint declaration confirms H&M’s genuine engagement to continue and reinforce our close cooperation based on the global framework agreement. There are challenges ahead, but improved working conditions and a sustainable garment industry can only be achieved through cooperation,”

says Marie Nilsson, president of Swedish union IF Metall, co-signatures of the agreement.

Photo 1: Shutterstock

Photo 2: Virtual signing ceremony on 15 March, 2021