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Myanmar workers’ Federation signs new agreement with ACT

The Industrial Workers Federation of Myanmar, an affiliate of the IndustriAll Global Union recently signed an agreement with ACT, an ethical trading initiative-affiliated program that tackles the issue of living wages in the garment supply chain.

The framework has been endorsed by ACT participants like Bestseller, H&M, Zara owner Inditex, Next and Tchibo are among the ACT participants that have endorsed the framework. ACT members that have not thrown in their support include Asos, Topshop parent Arcadia Group, C&A, Esprit, Primark, New Look and Tesco.

The framework is expected to benefit around 100,000 garment workers in Myanmar as it will emphasise on cooperating in “good faith” to secure workplace health and safety and mitigating the economic fallout of the crisis on factories and workers.

Some of the specific actions outlined in the framework involve engaging with relevant organizations to mobilize resources for covering workers’ salary losses from April to July and supporting International Labour Organization research to identify the necessary funding for those losses. Parties have also agreed to support the development of social protection floors—which is to say, defined sets of basic social security guarantees—to extend social safety nets for workers and promote compliance with health and safety regulations, such as ACT’s Myanmar freedom of association guidelines.

Employers have pledged to promote safe and healthy workplaces based on COVID-19-mitigating recommendations set by the Myanmar government, to actively engage in dialogue with workers on their business strategy in response to the pandemic, and work on possible joint measures to blunt the sharpest edges of the crisis.

In addition, endorsing brands have committed to paying manufacturers for finished goods and goods in production while maintaining “quick and effective” open lines of communication with supply-chain partners about the status of business.