A huge industry
The textile industry is enormous; employing over 47 million women and men worldwide. It is important to CNV Internationaal that garments are produced in a fair and sustainable way.
Together with our local union partners in Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam, we work to establish decent working conditions for the people working in the textile industry: living wages, healthy and safe workplaces and the freedom to join any union.
Living wage: alarming developments
Everybody should be able to earn a living wage. Unfortunately this is not the case for many garment workers.
The latest outcomes of CNV Internationaal's Fair Work Monitor in Cambodia reveal alarming outcomes: the average garment worker earns a mere 260 USD, while living expenses for garment workers are around 500 USD. Salaries need to rise significantly in order to bridge this gap.
What does CNV Internationaal do?
We contribute to decent work in low income countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia, where much of our clothing is produced. We aim to impove working conditions by supporting local trade unions and helping local workers stand up for their rights.
Additionally, we target Dutch clothing brands and collaborate with them to ensure better working conditions.
CNV Internationaal is one of the partners in the STITCH programme: The Sustainable Textile Initiative; Together for Change. STITCH aims for workers to feel free to speak up, to form unions, and to be able to bargain collectively for better working conditions. STITCH helps workers be heard by bringing together national and international supply chain stakeholders. We do this by:
- Strengthening unions and thus strengthening the influence of workers in the supply chains;
- Influencing brands, as they are the most powerful players in the supply chains. We aim to create space for workers to organize and secure them a place at the negotiation table;
- Improving brands’ purchasing habits. This will lead the way to improving working conditions, as well as rewarding freedom of association at supplier and factory levels;
- Influencing governments in market countries and effecting international legislation for human rights, so we can create an “ecosystem” that supports the entire process.
Trade Unions and grievance mechanisms
Where can employees in the clothing sector go, if they have a complaint? And how is this handled?
Researcher Bart Slob of Ethics at Work conducted research with the support of CNV Internationaal into the use of grievance mechanisms at trade unions in the clothing sector.
Our work: Multi-Company Collective Bargaining Agreements
Learn more on our work to improve labour rights through Multi-Company Collective Bargaining Agreements (MC-CBAs) in Indonesia and Vietnam. These agreements apply to several companies of the same sector within the same region. The advantage of MC-CBAs is that they can contribute to upscaling both labour and productivity while reducing social unrest and avoiding unfair competition. These MC-CBA’s include matters such as health and safety, working hours and compliance with wage agreements. Our aim is to upscale this sustainable inclusive approach and to involve new regions, new factories and employers. Clothing brands are also involved by promoting constructive social dialogue and freedom of association within their supply chain
Building trust through social dialogue in Indonesia
International Responsible Business Covenant (IRBC) Sustainable Textile and Clothing
In addition to improving working conditions in production countries, we are also active in the garment sector in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, we aim to contribute to responsible business practice through the IRBC.
We look forward to a (near) future where the entire textile sector sells fair trade clothing!
Helpful tools and published materials
- The Importance of Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining for Brands
- Bangladesh Country Information & Practical Advice on Freedom of Association (FoA) & Collective Bargaining (CB)
- Cambodia’s Garment Sector in Transformation: External Shocks, Political Space and Supplier Consolidation. Utrecht: CNV Internationaal, Dr. Dennis Arnold University of Amsterdam A research report commissioned and published by CNV Internationaal.
- Vietnam Country Information & Practical Advice on Freedom of Association (FoA) & Collective Bargaining (CB).
- Video: Multi-company CLAs for better working conditions in the textile industry