The project aims to improve labour relations, productivity, wages and working conditions

The project aims to improve labour relations, productivity, wages and working conditions

With support from Swedish fashion giant H&M, a new industrial relations project has launched in Ethiopia with the aim of improving the development of a socially sustainable textile and garment industry. 

The three-year project, which is funded by H&M and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO), will work to improve labour relations, productivity, wages and working conditions in the country. 

Specifically, it will assist the Ethiopian government, social partners and major industry stakeholders in "nurturing sound labour relations practices and promoting collective bargaining". 

Well-functioning relations and social dialogue on the labour market is key to improve working conditions and establish fair living wages, H&M explains. The retailer is engaged in projects which aim to strengthen employees' rights and their ability to negotiate on their own behalf on their terms and conditions through trade unions and or democratic elected employee representatives. 

H&M says it aims for all of its Ethiopian supplier factories to have democratically elected and functional workplace representation in place by 2018 at the latest.  

The project is part of an agreement the ILO and H&M signed in September 2014 to establish a "positive and innovative" model for other brands, and create a global alliance to promote the ILO's Decent Work agenda. 

H&M to work with ILO on sustainable supply chains

The Ethiopian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Industry, Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions and Ethiopian Employers Federation, also collaborated with H&M, the ILO and SIDA on the project.