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Union network calls Coats to convene social dialogue meeting

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12 December, 2019IndustriALL’s union network at UK textile company Coats is calling for social dialogue to strengthen industrial relations at Coats’ workplaces around the world.

The Coats union network is made up of unions from Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India and Turkey, and met on 5 December in Malaysia to discuss factory mapping, working conditions and the network’s next steps.

Participants discussed collective bargaining agreements, focusing on articles like working hours and overtime, wage structure and allowances, social security and social benefits, scope and implementation. Differences between the agreements in South Asia and South-East Asia were discovered and will be looked into.

Improved social dialogue and industrial relations are important, and the network committed to work together to make the regional network a global one.

Several union leaders praised Coats for providing good benefits and maintaining good relationships with the workers. Coats unions in Vietnam, Turkey and Bangladesh have regular meetings with management to discuss matters relating to workers, to solve immediate problems.

“Coats respects workers’ rights, like facilitating the collection of union dues and allowing union officials to perform their duties. We enjoy benefits like medical examinations, company loans, marriage allowance, spectacles subsidy and others,” said Nurul Huda from the National Industrial Workers Union Federation in Indonesia.

Participants concluded the meeting by announcing their interest to meet with Coats’ global management in early 2020 to discuss the network and the need for a global agreement with the company.

Annie Adviento, IndustriALL South East Asia regional secretary, said:
“This meeting aimed to create a network of unionized Coats factories, an action plan and then reach out to the global brand. This is our first step towards building union power and global leverage.”