Ground-breaking Binding Agreements Signed Between Apparel Brands and IndustriALL Global Union to Support Collectively Bargained Wages for Garment Workers

25 May 2024

ACT is proud to announce that it has successfully supported brands and IndustriALL in reaching individual binding agreements which will support collective bargaining agreements in Cambodia.

At this year’s Global Fashion Summit: Copenhagen Edition 2024, ACT has presented a new approach to supply chain industrial relations, to support wage improvements, better working conditions and a future-proof industry.

These bilateral support agreements between individual brands and IndustriALL Global Union are distinct from the parallel and ongoing collective bargaining process in Cambodia. The individual support agreements mark a significant milestone in the move towards the first-ever brand-supported collective bargaining agreement in the Garment and Footwear sector. 

The key areas of how brands can support collective bargaining agreements were designed collaboratively with partners in Cambodia recognizing that this shift toward binding agreements on wages necessitates legally binding commitments by individual brands specifically tailored to meet the priorities of social partners in Cambodia. ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation) is an agreement between IndustriALL Global Union and international brands and retailers in the garment and footwear industry to support sustainable wage growth through collective bargaining in production countries. 

Setting a new standard in supply chain industrial relations, these agreements foster sustainable structural transformation and support for sound industrial relations. This approach adopts a win-win strategy, aiming to meet investor and human rights due diligence expectations on in-country outcomes and addressing brand obligations on meaningful stakeholder engagement. 

“The individual agreements have the potential for broad impact on the apparel sector, setting higher standards and conditions and representing a new era for supply chain industrial relations”,  stated Mira Neumaier, Executive Director of ACT.

Atle Hoie, General Secretary of IndustriAll Global Union emphasised, “these agreements that we now have with brands to support collective agreements in the Textiles and Clothing sector in Cambodia is innovative and groundbreaking. We have worked on this for many years, and we finally see the result. This shows that when you take time to build trust and understanding you can achieve great things.”

These agreements also support effective and sustainable industry collaboration amongst all actors across the value chain. They demonstrate strong leadership by brands, employers, and unions in the sector and signal the potential for a new era in wage approaches, freedom of association, and responsible purchasing practices. This is a call to action for all brands sourcing from Cambodia to enable the broadest possible implementation. 

The ACT programme in Cambodia is implemented through the ACT foundation and directed through tripartite stakeholders of brands, employers and unions.

Legally binding brand support agreements

For further information on the individual brand support agreements please refer to the individual brands media announcements.

Collective bargaining process in Cambodia

In parallel to the negotiations towards the binding individual brand support agreements, employers and trade unions in Cambodia are working on collective bargaining agreements for garment factories in Cambodia. The process for brands signing the individual agreements with IndustriALL and the collective bargaining process between the employers and unions in Cambodia are two distinct parallel processes. The process in Cambodia is ongoing and promising.

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