Apparel giant PVH Corp and German fashion firm zLabels are the latest to join the Action, Collaboration, Transformation (ACT) initiative aimed at achieving living wages for workers in the global garment and textile industry.

The two firms signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with IndustriAll Global Union earlier this month, bringing the total number of ACT member companies to 20. 

IndustriAll and ACT brands welcomed the latest companies at a meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 12-14 September. The agreement between global brands, retailers and unions aims to achieve living wages in the garment and textile sector through industry level collective bargaining. 

PVH is the first company to join from the US and is the parent company of Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and other brands. zLabels is a collection of German brands sold online as Zalando. They join Bestseller and Cotton On, which joined ACT in May as the most recent members.

ACT members met with representatives of trade unions and employers in Cambodia to hear about their progress towards negotiating an industry collective agreement. There is strong commitment on both sides to reaching an agreement and triggering the commitments made by ACT brands to ensure their purchasing practices support the collective agreement, IndustriAll says. 

With the new members, ACT brands now collectively source from factories employing 50% of Cambodia’s garment workers.

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Speaking after the meetings, H.E. Dr. Ith Samheng, Minister of Labour and Vocational Training, supported the initiative, stating that the participation of buyers is important to ensure they continue to cooperate long-term with suppliers in Cambodia.

The ACT delegation then moved to Myanmar where the Ministry of Labour hosted a meeting of garment industry employers and trade unions on 17-18 September to discuss how to move the ACT process forward.

U Myo Aung, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, provided an overview of the government’s vision for industrial and social upgrading of the Myanmar garment industry before ACT trade union and brand representatives presented the potential contribution of ACT to industrial relations and sector development. 

Participants from factories, unions and government discussed the opportunities that ACT can bring to Myanmar by creating stable and predictable industrial relations through collective bargaining, industrial upgrading and integrating into the global economy and meeting the skills needs.

At the end of the consultation, IndustriAll said there was clear support for discussions to continue towards negotiations for a sectoral collective agreement for the sector that would be supported by brands through the ACT process.