Wage negotiations in Bangladesh
At Inditex we believe that the best way to improve labour conditions in the countries from which we source our products is through dialogue between employees and employers, which is why we support collective bargaining through trade unions.
We believe in the right of workers to a living wage, in Bangladesh and in all the markets from which we source. Therefore we expect the collective demands of workers, expressed through their legitimate unions including IndustriALL Bangladesh Council, to be taken into account, and the current negotiations used to reach agreement for a fair increase in the minimum wage that preserves the right of workers to a living wage.
We have set out below how Inditex works to support fair wages and collective bargaining in Bangladesh.
Fair wages are essential if we are to improve conditions for people working in the garment industry, and Inditex supports the current demand by the garment workers in Bangladesh to increase their wages.
We have a longstanding commitment to support the wage negotiation process in Bangladesh. In 2007, we signed a Global Framework Agreement with IndustriALL – the global union federation representing over 50 million workers – which was the first agreement of its kind in the textile industry. Thanks to this agreement, which was renewed in 2014, we have provided a guarantee to enforce collective bargaining rights and freedom of association to all workers within our supply chain.
Inditex is also an active participant in ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation) – a groundbreaking agreement launched in 2014 between global brands and trade unions which aims to improve garment industry wages through collective bargaining, supported by world class manufacturing standards and responsible purchasing practices. Through ACT, Inditex, IndustriALL and other global brands and retailers have earmarked Bangladesh as a priority country to promote collective bargaining as the most effective tool to reach wage agreements between employers, employees and their respective representatives.
The protection of workers' and trade union rights is a concern and a priority for Inditex. In 2017 we collaborated with other brands to write a joint letter to the Bangladesh government amid concerns over the right of freedom of association in the country. We reiterate that the current negotiation must be carried out without any pressure on or harassment of legitimate trade union officials.
Through our global agreement with IndustriALL we have implemented various programmes among our suppliers to promote collective bargaining through freely chosen worker representatives. It is paramount that these representatives are protected and respected during the current negotiation process so that there is an appropriate increase in the minimum wage which takes the collective demands of workers and unions into account.
As one of the first signatories of the legally binding Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety in 2013, Inditex made a clear commitment to source in the long term from Bangladesh. This commitment has not changed and was reiterated in 2017 when we signed the Transition Accord.
Although we source most of our products in proximity to our headquarters in Spain, we have committed to Bangladesh as one of our twelve key sourcing clusters.
Through our clusters, we foster cooperation in order to promote a sustainable production environment which supports the development of Inditex's business model, framed by strict compliance with fundamental labour rights. As such, our purchasing and sustainability teams in our cluster in Bangladesh continue to remind our suppliers of our expectation that all the workers in our supply chain are paid a living wage.
Inditex rewards those countries where collective bargaining agreements exist by choosing to source from and invest in them over the long term. Therefore, Inditex's sourcing teams work with other stakeholders to ensure that our purchasing practices are adapted to support long-term partnerships with those manufacturers that pay a living wage.
Inditex, along with our partners, will continue to follow the wage negotiation process closely to guarantee that the principles of freedom of association and collective bargaining are respected at all times. We will do this not only in Bangladesh but in all of our sourcing regions as part of our commitment to decent work throughout the garment industry.