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Using global framework agreements to organize

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31 January, 2020Over a two-year period IndustriALL affiliates in Turkey and Bangladesh have successfully organized more than 50 supplier factories as part of a programme to effectively implement global framework agreements. 

IndustriALL textile and garment director Christina Hajagos-Clausen says that the agreements contain a wide range of provisions to improve working conditions and to protect workers’ rights, especially on freedom of association:

"GFAs are instrumental in resolving conflicts and strengthening workers’ voices. In addition they are a instrumental tool for our affiliates to  increase union representation along the supply chain."

On 29 January, 36 trade union representatives from Indonesia’s textile and garment sector met in Jakarta to learn more about how to effectively implement global framework agreements.

Participants committed to continue mapping trade union density and collective bargaining coverage in the supplier factories of GFA brands, like H&M, Inditex, Tchibo, Esprit and Mizuno.

The results of a preliminary mapping, had identified that Garteks, SPN, FSPTK, GSBI and FSPTSK had established unions at 38 out of the 106 GFA suppliers in Indonesia. The union leaders discussed organizing plans to target the remaining non-unionized suppliers.

“The GFAs have evolved over the years, the latest features include setting up national monitoring committees in 6 countries with H&M, the establishment of a global union committee with Inditex and a GFA online app with ASOS. Trainings like this can help our Indonesian affiliates to increase union representation,”

says Christina Hajagos-Clausen.

According to SPN and Garteks, when textile and garment employers became aware of workers attempting to form a trade union, the union leaders were immediately demoted and refused approval for their overtime.

“It is not easy to overcome anti-union discrimination as authorities are slow in taking actions against employers violating labour laws. GFAs will be a useful instrument to negotiate with factories and organize more workers,”

says Trisnur Priyanto, Garteks general secretary.

IndustriALL’s regional secretary Annie Adviento says the GFA workshop aims to enhance union leaders’ knowledge on the agreements, and more trainings will be provided to strengthen Indonesian affiliates’ capacity to organize textile and garment workers.