Challenges hit textile trade union work in India
Unions believe they have made progress in organising precarious workers in India's garment and textile industry – but that challenges remain in relation to labour laws, supply chain complexity, and the prevalence of migrant workers.
The IndustriAll global union has been working with its affiliates in the country to develop a strategy to fight legislation that increases precarious work, using collective bargaining to do so, and to gain permanent status for such workers and improve their working conditions.
And at an annual evaluation of its union building project for India's textile, garment, shoe and leather (TGSL) sector in Delhi earlier this month, it noted that progress included initiatives to raise awareness on workers' rights and the availability and process of accessing social security benefits. The project was launched in 2014 to build strong unions and is supported by Swedish union IF Metall and Union to Union.
Also discussed was progress in the monitoring and implementation of a global framework work agreement (GFA) with companies including Inditex and H&M.
But despite this progress, IndustriAll pointed to a number of challenges faced by the unions, including an anti-labour attitude from government officials, proposed anti-workers changes in labour laws, the presence of complex supply chains, the prevalence of migrant workers and low union dues collection.
Nonetheless, they expressed a "determination to increase union membership and continue their support for workers to defend workers' rights through organising precarious workers".
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