The garment workers’ frustrations clearly highlight the need for strengthened industrial relations in the country. When workers are listened to, when the parties in the labour market can engage in respectful negotiation and peaceful dispute resolution, and when the minimum wage level is revised regularly, that is when situations such as this one can be resolved long-term.
We are aware of 4 of our suppliers’ factories that have laid off employees due to the unrest. Two of these factories have filed legal cases, involving around 50 workers in total, claiming that they were involved in vandalism during the unrest. Until now none of the workers of these factories were arrested or called for any inquiry. Following a discussion with the suppliers, they agreed not to follow up on the cases to have them thrown out.
Each supplier has an MoU which has been signed by factory management and local federations (affiliated with IndustriAll) agreeing on settlement benefits.
H&M group has been in dialogue with the local unions and the National Monitoring Committee to monitor and evaluate the situation, where the dispute so far is being managed locally by the parties. We are monitoring the situation and have made sure that the documents and agreements that have been signed are implemented by factory management and that there is a clear resolution process in place in the factories. This issue remains on our agenda and we are in contact with the suppliers, industry association, trade unions and other buyers.