Myanmar Freedom of Association (FoA) Guideline

Towards constructive social dialogue and more stability in the garment and footwear sector

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Everyone benefits when Myanmar’s garment industry is stable and flourishing

Freedom of Association is the right of workers and employers to form and join organisations of their own choosing.

It is a human right under the International Labour Organisation’s Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (ILO Convention 87 and Convention 98) and the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Myanmar FoA Guideline, is a big step forward towards securing constructive relationships between employers and workers in Myanmar’s Garment and Footwear industry. Developed and agreed in 2019 (Letter of Agreement), the Guideline aims to contribute to a stable and growing industry through constructive industrial relations in line with International Labour Standards.

Since 1 April 2020, compliance with the FOA Guideline is a business requirement for all factories producing for ACT Member brands in Myanmar. You can read the read the Letter of Agreement on the Guideline here.

About the Guideline

Freedom of Association Guideline

Freedom of Association Guideline Summary

Freedom of Association Info Brief

Freedom of Association Guideline Q&A

The FOA Guideline Process

Factories producing for ACT brands have established an Employer Working Group (EWG) to engage in the development of the Guideline on Freedom of Association. The working group nominated delegates to negotiate the content of the Guideline with the Industrial Workers’ Federation of Myanmar (IWFM), the sectoral trade union federation representing garment and footwear workers affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union.

The ILO and GIZ have offered technical assistance to support suppliers and trade unions in the negotiation.

“The trusting relations created through social dialogue reduce the risk of an industrial dispute and create the stability needed to ensure continued production and investment.”


All conflicts that may arise in the implementation of this Guideline will be subject to a dispute resolution procedure, which once established, will automatically become an integral part of the Guideline. In August 2020, a Framework Dispute resolution mechanism on the implementation of the FOA Guideline was agreed. The Framework Dispute Resolution Mechanism will be piloted from September to December 2020. For the purposes of the pilot, case are being raised through the IWFM and the Employer Working Group of ACT brand suppliers.