Esprit and IndustriALL commit to working together to improve workers’ rights

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Esprit has signed a global framework agreement with IndustriALL Global Union, committing to respect, protect and champion the human rights of workers in its supply chain. The agreement covers 525,000 workers at more than 1,100 suppliers making textile, footwear and apparel products for Esprit in 27 countries. 

In the agreement with IndustriALL, Esprit recognizes the crucial role that freedom of association and collective bargaining play in empowering workers and developing well-functioning industrial relations. Through the agreement, IndustriALL and Esprit will collaborate to set up mechanisms to make it easier for local trade unions to negotiate detailed collective agreements with all suppliers to Esprit at the national or local level. They will collaborate to ensure that fundamental International Labour Organization (ILO) standards are applied by their contractors, subcontractors and principle suppliers, including the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work as well as many other ILO Conventions and internationally recognized standards. 

IndustriALL’s general secretary, Valter Sanches, said: “This is a big step forward for Esprit and for half a million people working in their global supply chain. Esprit recognizes that the best way to empower garment and textile workers is to create an environment where they are free to join a trade union and bargain collectively, while being protected by the highest international labour standards. We look forward to working with our affiliates and using this global agreement to help improve workers’ rights.” 

Esprit has already partnered with IndustriALL as a member of the ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation) Initiative, which aims to implement a living wage in garment manufacturing regions by enabling industry collective bargaining in major producing countries. It is also on the Steering Committee of the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, set up by IndustriALL and UNI Global Union to improve garment factory conditions after the Rana Plaza factory disaster in 2013.