Joint Ethical Trading Initiatives (JETIs)
Joint Ethical Trading Initiatives (JETIs) is a collaboration of multiple Ethical Trading Initiatives consisting of ETI UK, ETI Norway, ETI Denmark. The purpose is to strengthen workers’ rights and improve industrial relations between factory workers and factory management in the ready-made garment (RMG) industry in Bangladesh.
With this purpose in mind JETI launched its flagship programme on Social Dialogue. The Joint ETI has through the social dialogue programme in Bangladesh worked with their members, members’ suppliers and a range of other stakeholders to develop a scalable and replicable model of effective social dialogue. The aim was to Develop a scalable model for workplace social dialogue, which includes capacity building and rights-based training of factory workers and factory management across ten pilot factories.
In general, workers in the Bangladeshi RMG industry are unaware of their rights and are not organised in any way that would allow them to speak collectively to alert supervisors or managers to their problems and concerns.
The issues are compounded because the women that work in the sector often have limited formal education and come from rural environments, which makes them particularly vulnerable. Consequently, these problems are reinforced by poor industrial-relations practice and a lack of confident workers who are able to identify and solve problems with management in a constructive way. The Ethical Trading Initiatives of Denmark, Norway, and the UK (joint ETIs) are addressing the absence of social dialogue since its inception in 2013.
Since 2013, the Joint ETIs have worked together in Bangladesh to develop a scalable and replicable model of social dialogue that will establish structures and processes for workers and employers to negotiate their rights collectively and resolve conflicts peacefully. The need for workers to be heard is of increasing importance for brand members of the Joint ETIs, because they recognise that giving workers the opportunity to be heard is key to achieving fair working conditions, as well as creating stable sourcing markets and sustainable economic growth.
The initiative includes training in industrial relations between managers and workers. The training covers a broad agenda that seeks to establish a basic understanding of human-resource management, human and workers’ rights, labour law, as well as an understanding of ILO conventions.