Ensuring Freedom of Association for Garment Workers in the UK
Tesco are committed to improving working conditions within our supply chains and empowering workers. To deliver this we work closely with key stakeholders and strategic partners to enable improvement. One such partnership is with Community, the main trade union representing the textile industry in the UK.
Community was formed in 2004 when the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation and the Knitwear, Footwear and Apparel Trade Union joined together.
Our Partnership with Community came about after concerns we raised about the under payment of wages, excessive working hours and worker abuses in the UK garment industry particularly around Leicester. After recognising that these were endemic issues within the UK industry, Tesco formed the partnership with Community to ensure none of these problems existed in our own supply base.
In mid-2015 Tesco and Community initiated joint visits with all suppliers and followed a format which was supportive and respectful, understanding worker concerns and enabling suppliers to raise questions or concerns about their relationship with Tesco. This honest dialogue enabled us to develop an action plan to address issues and ensure we were working in a way to enable better working conditions within the supply chain.
The next step of the initiative is to build representation within the supply chain to ensure workers' rights are driven from within the supply chain by the workers. We expect to have official Union Representatives, representing workers onsite by the end of 2016.