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More brands join ACT as progress continues

24 September, 2018IndustriALL has signed Memoranda of Understanding with PVH and zLabels, bringing the number of ACT member companies to 20.

Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 12-14 September, IndustriALL and ACT brands welcomed the latest companies to join ACT, the agreement between global brands, retailers and unions to achieve living wages in the garment and textile industry through industry level collective bargaining.

PVH is the first company to join from the US and is the parent company of Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and other brands. zLabels is a collection of German brands sold online as Zalando. They join Bestseller and Cotton On which joined ACT in May 2018 as the most recent members of ACT.

ACT members met with representatives of trade unions and employers in Cambodia to hear about their progress towards negotiating an industry collective agreement. There is strong commitment on both sides to reaching agreement and triggering the commitments made by ACT brands to ensure that their purchasing practices support the collective agreement.

With the new members, ACT brands now collectively source from factories employing 50 per cent of Cambodia’s garment workers.

Speaking after the meetings, H.E. Dr. Ith Samheng, Minister of Labour and Vocational Training supported the initiative, stating that the participation of buyers is important to ensure that they continue to cooperate long term with suppliers in Cambodia.

The ACT delegation then moved to Myanmar where the Ministry of Labour hosted a meeting of garment industry employers and trade unions on 17-18 September to discuss how to move the ACT process forward.

U Myo Aung, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population provided an overview of the government’s vision for industrial and social upgrading of the Myanmar garment industry before ACT trade union and brand representatives presented the potential contribution of ACT to industrial relations and sector development. Participants from factories, unions and government discussed together the opportunities that ACT can bring to Myanmar by creating stable and predictable industrial relations through collective bargaining, industrial upgrading and integrating into the global economy and meeting the skills needs.

At the end of the consultation, there was clear support for discussions to continue towards negotiations for a sectoral collective agreement for the sector that would be supported by brands through the ACT process.