- Vivian Hendriksz |
London - Asos has become the first fashion e-commerce company to sign the Global Framework Agreement (GFA) with IndustriALL, the world's largest sectorial trade union organization. The deal sees Asos joining the likes of Inditex, H&M and Tchibo in signing the agreement which represents 50 million workers and aims to strengthen the implementation of international labour standards across the global supply chain.
By signing the agreement, Asos is set to work together with IndustriALL to establish a solid framework for protecting the rights of the garment factory workers producing its own-branded products in countries around the world. "This landmark Global Framework Agreement with IndustriALL is a signal of our intent to ensure that everyone working in our supply chain feels safe and respected by their employers and fellow workers," said Nick Beighton, CEO at Asos in a statement.
Asos becomes a signatory of the Global Framework Agreement
"This can only be achieved if employees have the right to organize and bargain collectively, and the ability to ensure improved employment conditions are consistently implemented." The GFA between IndustriALL and Asos recognizes the part freedom of association and collective bargaining plays in developing strong, well-functioning industrial relations.
As such, by signing the agreement both parties now agree to share common strategies on a country-by-country basis; develop methodologies to assess the impact of purchasing practices at worker levels in the supply chain and implement confidential worker hotlines. In addition, both parties will also link Asos's gender empowerment programme with IndustriAll's worker rights training.
"This agreement provides mechanisms and standards to empower our unions to safeguard workers’ rights across ASOS’ global supply chain. The GFA deepens our relationship with Asos, and is an important step for supply chain industrial labour relations," said Valter Sanches, IndustriALL General Secretary. The signing of the GFA follows on from Asos recent signatory of the UN's Women's Empowerment Principles, which sees Asos commit to taking key steps to advance female empowerment in the workplace.
"The UN’s Women’s Empowerment Principles are a natural extension of our commitment to championing the rights of those who work for, and engage with us," added Beighton. "They are reflective of our belief that everyone should have the freedom to achieve great things without judgment or barriers."
The online fashion retailer has taken numerous steps over the years to protect the human rights of those who work in their supply chain, which include its own dedicated Ethical Trade programme, which sees its sourcing practices continually reviewed and improved, the launch of its Modern Slavery Statement and the sharing of its global factory list, providing transparency on the 612 Tier 1 factories it works with across 25 countries.
In addition, Asos is also part of the Action, Collaboration, and Transformation (ACT), an initiative designed to tackle the issue of living wages and a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative. However, all these initiatives have not stopped Asos from being hit with accusations of worker exploitation, as the fashion retailer was previously accused of taking advantage of temporary warehouse workers contracts in the UK.
Photos: Courtesy of IndustriALL