In the joint letter to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh we requested that the Government takes steps to ensure the protection of the workers’ rights, with special attention to the legitimate representatives of the workers who were arrested. We also made clear that while we do not support any illegal strikes or violent protests, we do recognize that the root cause of the unrest must be addressed through social dialogue; improving the dialogue on the labour market. It was stated in the letter that the increased cost of living in Bangladesh may contribute to unrest among workers in the garment sector and also encouraged the Government to adopt a regular wage review mechanism. This would help to create stability in the Bangladeshi garment sector.
Our staff in Dhaka are monitoring the situation closely and are in close contact with our suppliers, industry associations, trade unions and other buyers. According to recent information, the factories have re-opened and production has resumed. Factory management, trade union representatives and the trade association Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, BGMEA, are now negotiating the terms for the terminated workers.
For H&M group it is important that our products are manufactured under good working conditions, in all production countries. This is addressed through our global framework agreement with IndustriALL and the Swedish trade union IF Metall. The goal is to create a good dialogue between the parties on the labour market, collective bargaining agreements and peaceful conflict solution. Our global fair living wage strategy – aiming for fair living wages in the textile industry – is also an important contribution to this work, for example through demands on annual wage revisions.