Nevertheless, trade unions draw the attention of brands to the fact that the ACT process offers a unique opportunity to strengthen the sector and improve workers` wages through sectoral negotiations if their goal is to achieve a living wage for textile workers. IndustriAll and its member organisations held meetings for two days and discussed strategies to ensure a living wage by linking the purchasing practices of brands to a sectoral collective agreement. Member organisations welcomed the commitments made by brands that have joined IndustriAll`s Action, Collaboration, Transformation (ACT) initiative for sustainable wages and accepted that poor purchasing practices lead to excessive overtime, underpaid wages and short-term contracts. Collective agreements: Cambodia, China, Thailand and Vietnam have all the laws that allow workers to conclude collective agreements with employers. In Vietnam, a collective agreement must be negotiated and signed and published by the representative of the labour collective and the employer on the basis of the principles of commitment and equity. In Vietnam, a collective agreement may apply for a period of one to three years, unless a company has signed a contract for the first time and, in this case, it can apply for less than one year. In Thailand, a collective agreement should not exceed three years, and in China, a collective agreement should last one to three years. “It is understandable that Cambodian unions are frustrated that their efforts to negotiate a sectoral collective agreement that will improve garment workers` wages are being undermined by brands that declare their support for sustainable wages but have not yet made the necessary commitments to achieve this,” said Jenny Holdcroft, IndustriAll`s assistant general secretary. Strikes: In Vietnam, the labour collective has the right to strike in the event of a failure of conciliation at the level of the labour arbitration tribunal.
Similarly, in Thailand, workers can strike if conciliation fails. Laotic legislation strictly prohibits workers or their representatives from declaring a stoppage of work in a large number of situations. .