Myanmar Freedom of Association (FOA) Guideline

Past Project from 2019 – 2021

Freedom of Association (FOA) is fundamental human right at work and a prerequisite for collective bargaining and living wages

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, has been 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 aimed to contribute to a stable and growing industry through constructive industrial relations in line with International Labour Standards.

As part of the ACT member commitments, compliance with the FOA Guideline has been a business requirement for all factories producing for ACT Member brands in Myanmar from April 2020 to December 2021.

The FOA Guideline Process

“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.”
Global Deal 2017

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.