Social Dialogue Project at Mondiaal FNV Conference

Photograph of Casper Edmonds, Nazma Akter, Veasna Nuon, Esther Germans, and Lowell Jackson
NCP Social Dialogue Project presents session on Cambodia’s Garment Industry at Mondiaal FNV Conference

By J. Lowell Jackson

The Social Dialogue in the 21st Century Project led a breakout session at Mondiaal FNV’s Building Bridges Conference on Tuesday, October 8, 2019 in Amersfoort, Netherlands.

The session outlined the Project’s work so far in Cambodia. NCP researcher and CNV Internationaal consultant Veasna Nuon presented his research on challenges and solutions to social dialogue in the Cambodian garment sector.

Supplementing his presentation were observations from Esther Germans, Expert in Labor Issues in Garment Supply Chains and former Better Factories Cambodia Program Manager, Nazma Akter, President of Sommilto Garments, Sramik Federation and Executive Director of the Awaj Foundation, and Casper Edmonds, Head of Extractives, Energy, and Manufacturing Unit, ILO. NCP Project Associate J. Lowell Jackson moderated the session.

Some of Veasna’s key conclusions include the importance of industry-level bargaining and establishing tariff incentives for governments and employers to comply with international labor standards. Esther emphasized the importance of gender representation in social dialogue and the complex behaviors of actors on the ground. Nazma stressed the need for wage and living condition improvements for workers. Casper provided an ILO perspective of progress to date and highlighted the need to strengthen social dialogue institutions.

In post-session discussion, attendees asked about the impact of industry-level bargaining versus multi-company collective bargaining agreements. Panelists responded that industry-level bargaining is more comprehensive and impactful but much more difficult to achieve compared to multi-employer alternatives.

Social Dialogue in the 21st Century is a project of the New Conversations Project, Cornell University ILR School, in collaboration with the Strategic Partnership for Garment Supply Chain Transformation which includes Fair Wear Foundation, CNV Internationaal, and Mondiaal FNV. Support provided in part by the Government of the Netherlands