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AMSTERDAM – Two more global brands have joined a pioneering initiative aimed at linking brand purchasing practices to garment factory wages. Joining Industrall Global Union’s ACT initiative are PVH, the first company to join from the US and the parent company of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, and zLabels, a collection of German brands sold online as Zalando. They join other recent signatories Bestseller and Cotton On which signed up to ACT in May 2018.

IndustriALL has signed Memoranda of Understanding with PVH and zLabels, bringing the number of ACT member companies to 20.

ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation) is essentially a collective bargaining tool which sees global apparel brands and retailers and trade unions working to achieve living wages for workers through industry-wide collective bargaining linked to purchasing practices.

ACT members recently met with representatives of trade unions and employers in Cambodia to hear about progress towards negotiating an industry collective agreement. Myanmar and Cambodia are pilot countries for the ACT initiative.

A note from IndustriaLL suggested there “is strong commitment on both sides to reaching agreement and triggering the commitments made by ACT brands to ensure that their purchasing practices support the collective agreement.”

With the new members, ACT brands now collectively source from factories employing 50 per cent of Cambodia’s garment workers.

Speaking after the meetings, H.E. Dr. Ith Samheng, Minister of Labour and Vocational Training, supported the initiative, suggesting participation of buyers is important to ensure they continue to cooperate long term with suppliers in Cambodia.

The ACT delegation then moved to Myanmar where the Ministry of Labour hosted a meeting of 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 the government’s vision for industrial and social upgrading of the Myanmar garment industry before ACT trade union and brand representatives presented the potential contribution of ACT to industrial relations and sector development.

Participants from factories, unions and government discussed the opportunities that ACT can bring to Myanmar by creating stable and predictable industrial relations through collective bargaining, industrial upgrading and integrating into the global economy and meeting the skills needs.

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