UN’s International Labor Organization (ILO) and H&M Group have announced the expansion of their partnership to improve working conditions in the textile and garment industry.

According to a statement by H&M, the two parties have been working together since 2001 in Cambodia and Bangladesh to bring governments, factory owners, unions and workers together to discuss a range of issues including wages, work quality, productivity, and the documentation and recognition of workers’ skills. “The new partnership will include more H&M Group business functions than before, making it even broader”, said the Swedish fast fashion giant.

“While global production systems have created millions of jobs opportunities in the garment sector, mostly for young women, sometimes wages and working conditions are not in compliance with national labor laws. At times, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are restricted or denied. Legal minimum wages are not always implemented or enforced, or are set too low to adequately support livelihoods”, added the fashion company.

This month, thousands of garment factory workers in Bangladesh went on strike as many factory owners failed to implement a minimum wage raise announced by the government in September and supposed to be put into effect in December. The police used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons against the protesters, killing at least one and injuring dozens.

 

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