STITCH consortium in Bangladesh, in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, organized a multi-stakeholder roundtable dialogue on freedom of association and social dialogue. The event took place on 20 September 2023 at the embassy in Dhaka.
Representatives from the Government of Bangladesh, business associations (BGMEA & BKMEA), trade unions, ETI member brands (H&M, Inditex and PRIMARK), international and bi-lateral organizations and different embassies participated. Tuomo Poutiainen, Country Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO), moderated the conversation.
The roundtable, second of its kind, brought together all the relevant parties to discuss and decide on key questions pertaining to freedom of association and social dialogue in the RMG sector of Bangladesh. This group is a strategic alliance of minds and ambitions aimed at transforming the fundamental industrial relationships in RMG sector.
The discussion revolved around two pivotal questions:
- How can we strengthen and support the RMG Tripartite Consultative Council while ensuring gender-balanced representation?
- Given that tripartite consultation and collective bargaining are fundamental principles of social dialogue, how can Social Dialogue (SD) and RMG-Tripartite Consultative Councils (TCCs) actively contribute to collective bargaining agreements?
Creating an enabling environment for Freedom of Association (FoA) and Social Dialogue remains a top priority for the STITCH partnership. STITCH Bangladesh consortium consists of Ethical Trading Initiative Bangladesh, Mondial FNV and Fair Wear Foundation.
The stakeholders reaffirm that social dialogue is not just an exchange of information but a shared responsibility among workers, employers, and the government on matters of common interest. And this requires collective action.