AMPLIFY: project on Freedom of Association and Social Dialogue

In the AMPLIFY project, Dutch trade union confederations FNV and CNV, working through their foundations FNV Mondiaal and CNV Internationaal, are supporting Dutch garment companies in promoting freedom of association and social dialogue between their suppliers and workers at production sites. Freedom of association is an enabling right; when workers have a powerful voice and exercise the right to join an organisation, they are able to challenge adverse conditions and in doing so extend their positive influence to many other issues.

The project involves the participating companies in a learning path in which they develop SMART goals and receive individual guidance as they pursue them in cooperation with their suppliers. The focus is on companies exchanging ideas. They are given plenty of opportunity to share their experiences and learn from one another about challenges and possible solutions. The companies also learn by consulting experts on the subject.

The project began in September 2020 and will run for 18 months. The aim is for participating companies to give factory workers the opportunity to organise themselves and, in some cases, to initiate collective bargaining. Efforts are also being made to conclude collective labour agreements. Companies receive one-on-one guidance in developing, implementing, reviewing and improving their action plans for freedom of association at production sites.

Action routes

Companies participating in the project can choose one or more action routes to achieve the project aim. The action routes are:

A. Be informed and assess one’s own suppliers.
Parties share their knowledge about freedom of association in general and in specific countries. Receiving advice tailored specifically to their situation helps companies assess freedom of association in their supply chains.

B. Improve internal human rights due diligence processes.
Companies review their policies, procurement practices and auditing systems with a special focus on freedom of association.

C. Engage with suppliers.
Companies can make formal or informal changes to their orders. A formal change would be to upgrade a contract, and an informal change would be to organise events promoting freedom of association or hold roundtable discussions with suppliers.

D. Offer trade union and social dialogue training.
Companies can contact local experts to train employers and employees in the rights and roles of trade unions and the process of social dialogue.

E. Set up a collective bargaining process.
In cases where there is a union but it does not engage in bargaining, companies can analyse the pros and cons of setting up a bargaining process. Ultimately, expert facilitators could be brought in to help initiate a collective bargaining process.