Dutch AGT brands and global trade unions reinforce each other in the AMPLIFY project

Mondiaal FNV and CNV Internationaal took the initiative for making the production chain more social and sustainable at the request of the Dutch clothing brands, united in the Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile.

Women working behind their sewing machines in a factory. © Shutterstock

With this project, they support brands in promoting freedom of association among their suppliers, so that a structural social dialogue is started between employer and employee about working conditions.

Improve social dialogue

Companies participating in the Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile (AGT) want to make the clothing chain more sustainable. Research shows that union freedom is the most effective way to achieve improvements for employees, as it allows them to negotiate their working conditions themselves. Unfortunately, in many garment-producing countries, unions are actively blocked to defend workers' rights. It is therefore important to work on organizing trade union freedom.

Many brands see this importance and want to work with their suppliers to improve social dialogue. Within the project AMFPLIFY, they want to contribute to allowing employees to participate in trade unions and to negotiate with their employers. The project is a learning trajectory, in which the participants get to work in their supply chain and where practical solutions are looked at from everyone's business case. They mainly want to learn from each other and there will be a lot of attention given to intervention.

Freedom of Association

Social dialogue is key to achieving fundamental changes in working conditions worldwide. A structural discussion between employers and employees about working conditions is an effective way to overcome problems in the workplace. This can prevent strikes as well as poignant living conditions for workers. Companies can work towards freedom of association in different ways, depending on their situation, supply process, and relationship with suppliers. For example, this may involve increasing knowledge or improving the policy.

The participants learn and stimulate each other through intervention, knowledge exchange, training, and coaching in the AMPLIFY project. To aim is to have good mutual conversations and to lobby for freedom of association, whereby all parties see their interests secured.

Project AMPLIFY is an initiative from the Dutch clothing brands affiliated with the AGT. Mondiaal FNV and CNV Internationaal draw this project from their expertise and experience in international trade union work and social dialogue.