News article

H&M Group joins call to action to support garment workers

22 Apr, 2020

To jointly tackle the immediate effects of COVID-19 and continue work towards a more resilient garment industry once the crisis has passed, H&M Group joins a global call to action alongside the ILO, IOE (International Organisation of Employers), ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation), IndustriALL Global Union, employers’ organisations, and brands.

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has caused an exceptional situation for people, communities and business around the world. It has a huge impact on millions of garment workers living in countries highly dependent on the textile industry. Many of these countries have weak social protection systems and less ability to handle the financial impact caused by the situation, making the support from external actors imperative. With the sudden and substantial drop in demand of garments, the risk of mass unemployment and increased poverty is imminent. All of this makes the garment workers extremely vulnerable.

“Since this crisis go beyond what any individual company or organisation can solve on its own, collaboration is key.

To come together – brands and retailers, suppliers, trade unions and employers’ organisations – is the only way to create a long-term and sustainable solution, and is now more important than ever. We very much welcome the ILO call to action to support garment workers and manufacturers in textile producing countries to cope with the extraordinary situation that COVID-19 poses”, says Anna Gedda, Head of Sustainability H&M Group.

H&M Group will continue its long-term work to create a sustainable textile industry. The call to action contributes to a collaborative way of working when it comes to protecting garment workers’ income and employment, and supporting employers to survive during the crisis. H&M Group is in close dialogue with for example financial institutions to find solutions for manufacturing suppliers and garment workers. H&M Group will also work in collaboration to promote the establishment of sustainable systems of social protection. And just as under normal circumstances, the company will keep an open dialogue with suppliers about purchasing planning – an important part of being a responsible buyer, not just in times of crisis. In addition, H&M Group will continue to stand by its commitments and agreements by taking delivery of and paying for already produced goods as well as goods in production, if delivered within a reasonable timeframe.

Press release from IOE is available here.

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