Social Dialogue in the 21st Century Project

Social Dialogue in the 21st Century was a collaborative project between Cornell Industrial and Labor Relations School’s New Conversations Project, Fair Wear Foundation, CNV Internationaal and Mondiaal FNV. The project mapped social dialogue across 11 garment producing countries to identify key barriers and produce recommendations for ways forward for the industry.

Through extensive research and stakeholder consultations, the project created root-cause analysis of barriers to impactful social dialogue and developed concrete recommendations for overcoming those barriers in the global garment industry. Each of the reports dive deep into the country specific challenges to social dialogue, as well as looking at promising practices or examples of where social dialogue has been effective.

The reports, published in early 2021, also make an initial analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on social dialogue – at the national level as well as in factories. The evidence is clear: where social dialogue structures were already in place and functional, workers and suppliers were in a much better position to weather the storm of COVID-19. Conversely, where social dialogue was not yet in practice, COVID-19 created yet another barrier to workers and management engaging constructively to address the challenges it created.

Figure 1 Target countries: Social Dialogue in the 21st Century focuses on ten sourcing countries: Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, India, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Mexico, Honduras, and Vietnam.

A synthesised analysis of the situation across all eleven countries was also conducted, and  ‘Mapping Social Dialogue in Apparel: Synthesis Report’ provides a comprehensive report covering best practices, common challenges and ways forward for the industry. Both the synthesis and country reports provide a wealth of information for industry stakeholders – brands, governments, employers’ associations, trade unions and MSIs – to use in order to refine strategies and approaches in order to create a real enabling environment for social dialogue.

The country specific reports can be found below:

Mapping Social Dialogue in Apparel: Synthesis Report

Mapping Social Dialogue in Apparel: Bangladesh

Mapping Social Dialogue in Apparel: Bulgaria

Mapping Social Dialogue in Apparel: Cambodia

Mapping Social Dialogue in Apparel: Ethiopia

Mapping Social Dialogue in Apparel: Honduras

Mapping Social Dialogue in Apparel: India

Mapping Social Dialogue in Apparel: Indonesia

Mapping Social Dialogue in Apparel: Mexico

Mapping Social Dialogue in Apparel: Myanmar

Mapping Social Dialogue in Apparel: Vietnam


To get involved in the project or learn more, please contact Tina Rogers, Social Dialogue Coordinator at [email protected]

Resources

Mapping Social Dialogue in the Apparel Industry: Synthesis Report

This report summarises the results of the Social Dialogue in the 21st Century project, a collaboration between the New Conversations Proje…

Mapping Social Dialogue in Apparel: Bangladesh

This report looks at the case of Bangladesh as part of the Social Dialogue in the 21st Century project, a collaboration between the New Co…