On Friday, FWF members Haglöfs, Kjus and SuitSupply signed the FoA Protocol in Jakarta. The protocol is a groundbreaking agreement between clothing brands, factories and trade unions to strengthen workers’ rights in Indonesia.
The FoA Protocol is quite a pragmatic guideline for how factories and trade unions can effectively work together on better labour conditions. The signatory brands have committed themselves to encouraging their suppliers in Indonesia to implement the protocol. This means, for example, that a factory-level bipartite committee and a CBA process must be either set up or maintained.
The FoA Protocol arose through bottom-up negotiation by national trade unions—actively supported by FWF partners CNV Internationaal and Mondiaal FNV —and brands sourcing in Indonesia. FWF is convinced that brands taking on an active role in facilitating factory-level social dialogue empowers both management and trade unions to negotiate more effectively.
FWF’s country manager for Indonesia, Kees Gootjes: ‘I am very happy that FWF brands show their commitment to Freedom of Association and factory-level social dialogue in particular, strengthening an existing initiative and showing that brands can actively contribute to better working conditions!’
Independent review indicated that workers at suppliers where the protocol was implemented believed they were better able to achieve positive changes on the factory floor. Factory-level trade unions felt that the protocol enabled them to stand up more for their rights. The protocol has provided brands with an opportunity to manage labour issues more effectively.
The three FWF brands signed the FoA Protocol during a multi-stakeholder seminar in Jakarta by means of a satellite live feed from their offices in The Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. At this seminar, more than 50 participants from the government, employers’ organisations, trade unions and labour NGOs discussed the Indonesian garment industry.
Freedom of Association and social dialogue are issues that are difficult to address, even for FWF members. It is a significant step that FWF brands have chosen to sign the FoA Protocol. They are the first brands to join the protocol since the original six in 2011, which included Nike, Puma and Adidas.
Indonesian garment industry
Indonesia is one of the top 10 garment-producing countries in the world, and has maintained a market share of 1-2% in the global garment manufacturing industry. The garment sector has recently grown after a few years of relative decline. More than two million workers are active in the Indonesian garment industry, comprising approximately 20% of the total manufacturing industry.