H&M group has initiated several steps to improve working conditions of workers making H&M products at its suppliers. One of its major goals has been to ensure that factory employees are represented by trade unions to negotiate collectively, for this it is training factories on workplace cooperation, negotiation skills, collective bargaining and labour law. “The work is at the top of our agenda and we stay true to our collaborative approach and methodical way of working, making it possible to take important steps forward,” H&M said.

The group facilitates dialogue between the employers and the employees at the factories and in the labour market in the countries where its products are made. This is fundamental to be able to improve working conditions, including wages, it said and added 290 factories are enrolled in the workplace dialogue and industrial relations programmes while more than 370,000 factory workers are directly covered by democratically elected worker representation through its programmes run in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Ethiopia and India. “In 2018, the goal is to have democratically elected worker representatives in place at supplier representing 50 per cent of our product volume,” the group said.

“Our collaboration within the Global Framework Agreement – pushing the development forward – was converted to a permanent agreement. H&M became an official supporter of the Global Deal partnership,” it said. The group is also trying to make sure that the wage issue is negotiated and that workers have knowledge about their wage, benefits and rights. Wage should also take the individual worker’s skills, experience, performance and responsibility into consideration. Such systems are being implemented at an increasing number of factories – 140 until the end of 2016, and an additional 96 during 2017.