An huge industry
The textile industry is enormous; employing over 47 million men and women worldwide. It is important to CNV Internationaal that cloths are produced in a fair and sustainable way.
Together with our local union partners in Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam, we work to establish decent working conditions for the people who in the textile industry: a living wages, healthy and safe workplaces and workers who have the freedom to join the union of their choice.
Everybody should be able to earn a living wage. Unfortunately this is not the case for many workers in the textile industry.
The outcome of the minimum wage negotiations for textile workers in Cambodia, for the year 2023, has been disappointing. Despite the efforts of our local union partner, the employees still earn too little to live on.
Impact of crises
International crises often have a major impact on the people who work at the beginning of the production chain. When orders are dropped, it means that factories have less work. This often leads to job loss for employees. Learn more about the impact of the corona pandamic on textile workers in Cambodia in 2021.
Learn more on the impact of COVID-19 on the apparell industry workers
What does CNV Internationaal do?
We contribute on a global scale to Decent Work efforts in low income countries. Countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia, where much of our clothing is produced. By supporting local trade unions and the workers in textile factories, and helping them to stand up for their rights, we aim to improve working conditions there.
We also work on the situation in the Netherlands, focusing on Dutch clothing brands and working together towards improvement.
Download our position paper on the garment sector
CNV Internationaal is one of the partners in the STITCH Programme: The Sustainable Textile Initiative; Together for Change. STITCH wants workers to feel free to speak up, to form unions, and be able to bargain collectively for better working conditions. STITCH helps workers be heard by bringing together national and international supply chain stakeholders. We do this by:
- Strengthening unions and thus strengthening the influence of workers in the supply chains
- Influencing brands as they are the most powerful players in the supply chains. We aim to create space for workers to organize and secure them a place at the negotiation table.
- Improving brands’ purchasing habits. This will lead the way to better working conditions, as well as reward freedom of association at supplier and factory levels.
- Influencing governments in market countries and effecting international legislation for human rights, so we can create an “ecosystem” that supports the entire process.
Trade Unions and grievance mechanism
Where can employees in the clothing sector go, if they have a complaint? And how is this handled?
Researcher Bart Slob, Ethics at work, conducted research with the support of CNV International into the use of grievance mechanisms at trade unions in the clothing sector.
Our work: MC CBA agreements
Learn more on our work to improve labour rights together through Multi Company Collective Bargaining Agreements in Indonesia and Vietnam. These agreements apply to several companies of the same sector within the same region. The big advantage is to upscale both labour and productivity improvements while reducing social unrest and avoiding unfair competition. These MC CBA’s include matters such as health and safety, working hours and compliance with wage agreements. Our aim is to upscale this sustainable inclusive approach and to involve new regions, new factories and employers. Garment brands are also involved to promote constructive social dialogue and freedom of association within their supply chain
Building trust through social dialogue in Indonesia
IRBC Covenant Sustainable Textile and Clothing
We are also active in the garments sector in the Netherlands where we contribute to responsible business practices (IRBC).
We look forward to a (near) future where the entire textile sector sells fair trade clothing!
Helpful tools and published materials
- The Importance of Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining for Brands
- Bangladesh Country Information & Practical Advice on Freedom of Association (FoA) & Collective Bargaining (CB)
- Cambodia’s Garment Sector in Transformation: External Shocks, Political Space and Supplier Consolidation. Utrecht: CNV Internationaal, Dr. Dennis Arnold University of Amsterdam A research report commissioned and published by CNV Internationaal.
- Vietnam Country Information & Practical Advice on Freedom of Association (FoA) & Collective Bargaining (CB).
- Video: Multi-company CLAs for better working conditions in the textile industry