ILO partners with São Paulo textile sector to promote decent work

by Manoela Vianna on May 04, 2017

São Paulo, May 4, 2017 – Today, the International Labour Organization (ILO), Brazilian Association of Textile Retail (ABVTEX), Brazilian Association of Textile Industry (Abit), Instituto C&A (the Brazilian office of C&A Foundation), Instituto Lojas Renner and Zara Brazil announced a partnership to promote decent work in the textile and apparel sector of São Paulo.

The partners will engage in the initiative “Improving working conditions and management capabilities of sewing shops in São Paulo". With a three-pronged approach, the initiative will: raise rights awareness and empower populations vulnerable that work in sewing shops, raise risks awareness and do management training for sewing shop owners (especially micro, small and medium enterprises), and build the capacities of institutions at federal, state and local levels for to develop and implement policies to improve working conditions in sewing shops, especially focusing on migrant workers.

Over the past years in Brazil, more and more emphasis has been placed on dealing with these issues given the arrival of a growing number of migrants from other Latin American ountries and African countries. Besides labour exploitation, the lack of proper occupational safety and health conditions is a serious problem in irregular and informal sewing shops.

“This new ILO partnership with the fashion industry and retail sector in Brazil will help the country to promote socially and economically sustainable supply chains, offering decent work to workers of the sector”

Director of the ILO Office in Brazil Peter Poschen

Brazil has the fifth largest textile industry in the world, employing millions of people and generating profit to thousands of companies. Like in all industries, risks exist and require specific actions to be mitigated, both as part of a business strategy and to promote human and labour rights.

“This new ILO partnership with the fashion industry and retail sector in Brazil will help the country to promote socially and economically sustainable supply chains, offering decent employment to workers of the sector", said Peter Poschen, Director of the ILO Office in Brazil, during the ceremony in which the partnership was formalized today in São Paulo.

Edmundo Lima, Executive Director of ABVTEX, said: “through this public-private partnership, the dialogue among the parties is consolidated into concrete actions to adopt best practices in the Brazilian textile supply chain. This is a key strategy of ABVTEX and in 2010 we started a Supplier Monitoring Programme with this goal."

Fernando Pimentel, Executive Director of Abit, said that “Abit has partnered with several national and international organisations to tackle the problem of exploitation in our production and distribution chain. It is a complex landscape, with regional and international reach, that requires co-ordinated actions of public and private agents for the problem to be eliminated at a global level.

“That is why we have said that, if the market is global, production standards should also be increasingly globalized; they should be followed by all countries and producers. Unfair competition and the lack of common rules lead to a form of production that is inconceivable for human dignity."

Click here to download the official press release from the ILO.