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AMSTERDAM – Spanish fast fashion giant Inditex, which owns Zara among other brands, has extended its framework agreement with IndustriALL Global Union. The pair have been working together for 15 years. They say the new protocol reinforces their “commitment to continue engaging in mature industrial relations safeguarding worker well-being.”

Oscar García Maceiras, CEO of Inditex, and Atle Høie, IndustriALL Global Union general secretary, signed a new protocol designed to further the Global Framework Agreement (GFA) first signed by the two organizations in 2007.

They claim the agreement has improved working conditions for three million people in supply chains over the past 15 years. However, they do not mention where they have plucked this figure from. Moreover, given garment worker wages remain pitiful at Inditex’s main sourcing hubs, one can only assume the pair are setting the bar extremely low on this issue.

The new protocol, they say, establishes mechanisms for cementing the role of local unions for a better understanding of what the workers making the clothes need.

Inditex and IndustriALL will formulate a work plan which will focus on “continued respect for the freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining and the provision of training to worker representatives, the textile group’s suppliers and its supply chain factory workers.”

Said Atle Høie, IndustriALL general secretary: “Signing the GFA with Inditex was a breakthrough that has since lead the way for more responsible sourcing and proper industrial relations in the sector. It is fitting that we celebrate the first 15 years by signing a protocol that takes our relationship to a new level in terms of respect for fundamental trade union rights. The fact that we agree with Inditex to increase the role of our local and national unions and to firmly defend their right to organize and bargain collectively in the supply chains gives hope to many.”

Felix Peinado, director for the ILO in Spain, present at the signing ceremony, said: “In the Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, ILO urges companies, in collaboration with their workers’ representatives, to enter into international framework agreements to commit to applying principles of decent work along their supply chains in all countries. Spanish unions Comisiones Obreras and UGT, together with Inditex, have been frontrunners in Spain with this agreement. I could not be prouder of this agreement or happier to celebrate its anniversary. The agreement is an example of how, with the combined commitment and hard work of companies and their workers’ representatives, it is possible to forge better working conditions around the world.”

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