OECD Forum Session: Is Social Dialogue Part of Fast Fashion’s Post-Covid Cure?

On 1-5 February, 2021, the OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector will bring together representatives from government, business, trade unions and civil society to address emerging risks and to share learnings on implementing labour, human rights, environmental and integrity due diligence in the sector across geographies.

A key theme of the Forum will be the topic of building a more resilient and sustainable sector in the context of COVID-19. The pandemic has been an unprecedented test for industrial relations systems in garment-producing countries and an existential threat to many factories and workers. At the onset of the pandemic, global brands cancelled billions of dollars’ worth of orders, suppliers furloughed or dismissed millions of workers, and unions and civil society organisations fought for the wages workers are owed.  This crisis has proven to be the ultimate ‘stress test’ on social dialogue systems globally.

Along with the New Conversations Project, Fair Wear (as part of the Strategic Partnership for Garment Supply Chain Transformation with partners CNV Internationaal and Mondiaal FNV) will be hosting a panel side session on the importance of social dialogue in rebuilding a more resilient, sustainable sector post-pandemic. In this session entitled ‘Is Social Dialogue Part of Fast Fashion’s Post-Covid Cure?’, we will share the results of research done in ten garment-producing countries on the impact of social dialogue on COVID-19 responses. In particular, we focus on the workings of social dialogue mechanisms in the cases of Ethiopia and Myanmar. In a discussion with researchers, trade unionists and brand representatives we will discuss whether this research reflects the reality each stakeholder faced and ask the big questions about social dialogue in apparel: Does social dialogue work in coping with COVID? Can it re-distribute risk and cost more fairly along the supply chain? Where, under what conditions, and on what scale?

Join us for this important conversation at 14:00 CET, 2 February, 2021. Click here to register for this side session.