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Swedish report explores Bangladeshi garment sector

Swedish non-profit organisation Swedwatch has published a report ‘Power of the voice’ that explores the perspectives of workers and buyers in the Bangladesh garment sector and the ‘social dialogue’ which was supposed to have been established post-Rana Plaza. The report makes recommendations based on its findings, relating to some of the most pivotal issues in the RMG sector such as: freedom of association, anti-union policy making, due diligence and transparency.

The non-profit organisation hopes, to provide a basis for discussion on the responsibilities of companies active in markets where the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining are systematically infringed upon. The recommendations of Swedwatch include assessing and responding to the potential impacts of brands’ purchasing practices on suppliers’ compliance with freedom of association and collective bargaining; identifying and preventing anti-union policies and practices in supplier factories, to comply with the relevant International Trade Union Confederation’s guidance; using collective bargaining agreements as a basis for creating incentives for suppliers, for example by including a measurable CBA premium in unit prices, continue sourcing from unionised facilities, and when expanding production, give preference to unionised locations; publicly communicating the results of the due diligence processes regarding risks to freedom of association and collective bargaining, such as the share of workers covered by collective bargaining agreements and regularly publishing a detailed, searchable list of all sites that manufacture the company’s products and audit results for each factory.