Montreal-based T-shirt maker Gildan Activewear Inc is cleaning up its labour practices according to a human rights group.

The Maquila Solidarity Network issued a statement yesterday to say it is suspending a campaign to make Gildan comply with its code of conduct obligations after the company agreed to implement a "corrective-action plan."

As part of the plan Gildan says it will give hiring preference to dozens of former Gildan El Progeso workers at a new sewing factory and at its current sewing facilities in Honduras.

The workers, who were union supporters, had been fired from Gildan's sewing plants in Honduras in 2002 and 2003. Gildan later closed its El Progeso factory in Honduras during a third party complaint process.

Gildan also agrees not discriminate against union supporters in hirings; will provide transportation between El Progeso and the new factory; cover relocation expenses for workers and their families that choose to be relocated; and provide training for former El Progreso workers who don't have skills required at the current and new sewing factories.

Last autumn, the Fair Labour Association threatened to terminate Gildan's membership unless it met certain conditions and acknowledged restrictions that were placed on workers' rights to freedom of association.
Gildan, which has about 7,400 workers abroad, mostly in Honduras, Mexico and Haiti, has also agreed to independent verification of compliance with these commitments.