In late May, the Swedish NGO, Swedwatch, published a report, ‘POWER OF THE VOICE -Perspectives from workers and buyers on social dialogue within the Bangladeshi garment sector’.
The publication aims to explain the status of the social dialogue initiatives that were initiated in response to the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013, by summarising the approaches of 15 Swedish garment and textile companies’ to social dialogue in Bangladesh. The report also provides a basis for discussion on the responsibilities of companies active in markets where the rights to freedom of association and to collective bargaining are systematically infringed upon.
Apart from a survey, the paper’s findings build on interviews with union representatives and workers at Bangladeshi factories exporting to well-known western brands. Among the companies surveyed are Gina Tricot, Stadium and H&M – the sector’s largest buyer. Of the surveyed companies, 12 use the services of amfori BSCI.
The report calls on buyers to engage at the federal level with trade unions and employers’ associations, to support suppliers and employers’ organisations in respecting Bangladeshi garment workers’ rights, and push state actors to protect them.
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