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Improving labour conditions in the ready made garment industry

Ondertekening Strategisch Partnerschap Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken met Fair Wear Foundation CNV Internationaal en Mondiaal FNV op 18 december 2015

Fair Wear Foundation, CNV Internationaal and Mondiaal FNV signed a Partnership Agreement with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to improve labour conditions and worker rights in readymade garment supply chains in South and Southeast Asia and East Africa.

Evidence-based lobby and advocacy

The 5-year partnership, led by Fair Wear Foundation, is part of the ministry’s “Dialogue and Dissent” 2016-2020 framework and covers projects in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Pakistan and Ethiopia. It provides a unique opportunity for the participating organisations to gather solid evidence that will strengthen their lobby and advocacy work.

It also helps to strengthen trade unions and civil society in the areas where the partnership will be active by engaging in capacity-building activities. Training at production sites enhances workers' capacity to understand and stand up for their rights. And the involvement of clothing brands means that all actors in the supply chain are part of the change.

Tangible results

This unique mix of trade unions, civil society organisations, governments and companies in the sector will provide a better understanding of each actor's role in the industry. Because of the programme’s emphasis on brands and factories, the partnership will have access to garment supply chains, the ability to work directly to effect change, and evaluate the results. The partnership, and particularly the role of the trade unions, will play a vital role in the social dialogue between workers, unions, employers, and government institutions.

The different projects will allow the organisations to see the effects of their actions on the supply chain, and on the lives of textile and garment workers in the different countries. And the data collected will serve to refine the different programmes of each organisation, further tailoring them to meet the requirements of the specific local, national and regional contexts.

Better coordination

Fair Wear Foundation, the leading partner, is an independent, non-profit organisation that works with companies and factories to improve labour conditions for garment workers.

For trade union CNV Internationaal and its partner organisations, improving labour rights– a specific subset of our human rights – is a worldwide goal. Specifically, CNV Internationaal has the objective to reduce poverty and to contribute to Decent Work in developing countries based on international solidarity, own responsibility, social dialogue and pluralism. This is why trade unions focus on the living and working conditions of the workers in the production and supply chain when discussing the social impact in responsible chain management.

Mondiaal FNV is a foundation within FNV that works to improve labour rights and working conditions in developing countries, and countries in economic transition. Through Mondiaal FNV, FNV supports trade unions and related organisations in these countries. Mondiaal FNV focuses on issues including decent work, trade union rights, improving womens’ rights, and the elimination of child labour.

Publication date 18 12 2015