PVH Corp., a leading American clothing company and Zlabels, a German fashion firm are latest to join the Action, Collaboration, Transformation (ACT) initiative aimed at achieving living wages for workers in the global garment and textile industry. The two firms have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the IndustriALL Global Union earlier this month, bringing the total number of ACT member companies to 20.
The contract between global brands, retailers, and unions aim to achieve living wages in the garment and textile sector through industry-level collective bargaining that is linked to purchasing practices.
ACT members recently met representatives of trade unions and employers in Cambodia to take a note about the progress towards negotiating an industry collective agreement. Myanmar, as well as Cambodia, are pilot countries for the ACT initiative.
A comment from IndustriALL suggested that there is a strong commitment on both sides so as to reach on an agreement and trigger the commitments made by ACT brands to ensure that their purchasing practices support the collective agreement.
Moreover, ACT brands now together source from factories providing employment to 50 per cent of Cambodia’s garment workers.
H.E. Dr Ith Samheng, Minister of Labour and Vocational Training, supported the initiative by stating that the participation of the buyers is essential in order to ensure that they continue to work together for long-term with the suppliers in Cambodia.
In addition to this, the ACT delegation recently visited Myanmar where the Ministry of Labour hosted a meeting with garment industry employers and trade unions to discuss how to move the ACT process forward.
U Myo Aung, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population provided an overview of government’s vision for industrial and social upgradation of Myanmar’s apparel industry. ACT trade union along with brand representatives presented the potential contribution of ACT to industrial relations and sector development.
Many participants from factories, unions, and government were also present at the meeting. They discussed the opportunities that ACT can bring to Myanmar by building stable and predictable industrial relations through collective bargaining, industrial upgrading and integrating into the global economy as well as meeting the skill requirements.
PVH Corp. is the first company to join the initiative and is the parent company of Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and other brands. ZLabels is a collection of German brands sold online. Other well-known retailers including Bestseller and Cotton On also joined the pioneering initiative in May this year as the most recent members.