“The right of all workers to form and join trade unions and bargain collectively shall be recognized. The company shall, in those situations in which the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining are restricted under law, facilitate parallel means of independent and free association and bargaining for all workers. Workers' representatives shall not be the subject of discrimination and shall have access to all workplaces necessary to carry out their representation functions.”
An obligation in and of itself is not enough, of course. Therefore, all of our producers are regularly and independently audited by organizations such as the Fair Wear Foundation. Auditors carefully review whether there are violations of freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. This is verified through interviews within and outside the production site and by reviewing documents.
Nearly all of our producers have already received training with the FWF Workplace Education Program. This program focuses on communication between employees and management.
The FWF audits show that there are still many findings in this area. Common findings include:
All of our production sites in China, Vietnam and Myanmar have already participated in the FWF's Workplace Education Training (WEP). The training is well accepted by producers as well as by their employees. VAUDE assumes the costs for the training.
Training is performed separately for employees and management. One reason for this is that the content is different for each target group. Another reason is that when workers are among themselves, they ask more questions and raise concerns more freely than in presence of senior executives.
At the moment, our CSR team in Asia is being trained by the FWF and will soon be able to perform the WEP training on its own. This will allow them to lead training sessions as they visit the factories and make their own contribution to raising the awareness of labor rights.
We are always communicating with our producers and discussing current challenges in their countries. We have found that most producers would like to have better communication with their workers but don’t know how to put this into practice. For this reason, our CSR team in Asia has begun to support selected producers in improving dialog with their workers. The focus is on training and regular meetings between elected worker representatives and management.