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Over 60 representatives from several FWF stakeholder groups came together in Hanoi last week to discuss labour conditions in the Vietnamese textile industry. The main topic of the multi-stakeholder roundtable: building effective industrial relations.
In Vietnamese garment factories it is common for high-ranking managers to serve as union leaders. All participants agreed on the importance of the representation of workers by workers. Many steps are still to be taken to convince both workers and managers of the benefits of investing in dialogue structures.
‘We cannot do everything alone’, was the general consensus among the participants. Factories need support from garment brands, but also more capacity. For example, most factories do not have management staff available to work on dialogue structures. At the same time, workers are not empowered to negotiate about their rights.
Participants consisted of representatives from clothing brands, factories, trade unions, business- and employer associations, research organisations and labour NGOs.
It was the first time that FWF organised such a big event in Vietnam. FWF’s Annabel Meurs presented the main findings from factory audits, trainings and the Vietnamese country study. ‘It was very valuable to explain FWF’s role and future plans’, she said afterwards, ‘and to be able to discuss that in a multi-stakeholder setting.’