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Article

24 May 2022

Author:
Beth Wright, Just Style

India: Labour groups & H&M call for brands to sign the Dindigul Agreement to Eliminate Gender-Based Violence and Harassment

"H&M Group urges collaborative action on gender-based violence", 24 May 2022

The Tamil Nadu Textile and Common Labour Union (TTCU), the Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA), and Global Labor Justice-International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ-ILRF) are calling on global brands to join H&M Group in signing the Dindigul Agreement to Eliminate Gender-Based Violence and Harassment (GBVH).

The labour groups say the agreement to tackle gender-based violence and harassment will empower 5,000 mostly female Dalit workers to protect themselves and their coworkers in spinning mills and garment cut and sew facilities...

Last month, factory owner Eastman Exports Global Clothing Private Limited, the TTCU, AFWA, and GLJ-ILRF, along with H&M Group, announced the Dindigul Agreement to Eliminate Gender-Based Violence and Harassment, a set of accords that jointly commit all parties to work together to eradicate GBVH and discrimination based on caste, or migration status; support women workers in collectively detecting, remediating and preventing it on the shopfloor, to increase transparency; and to develop a culture of mutual respect in the garment factory and beyond.

In the Dindigul Agreement, H&M Group has agreed to a regular review mechanism in deciding its level of sourcing based on Eastman’s fulfilment of the provisions of the agreement.

Julia Bakutis, strategy lead fair jobs at H&M Group sustainability department, tells Just Style: “Gender-based violence is one of the most notable human rights violations in society and we want to do our utmost to contribute to systemic and positive change in the industry. As real impact will only come when all stakeholders engage on this topic in their sphere of influence, we believe these issues need to be addressed at scale and collaboratively together with a wide range of experts and stakeholders.

“We expect this agreement to contribute to a broader industry initiative going forward and hope more brands will join. Every worker should feel safe working in our industry, whether they are employed by our suppliers or not...

For Jeeva M, general secretary at TTCU, the agreement marks the first time workers have a tool that empowers them to fight back collectively against violence and harassment at work...

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