Training for Collective Bargaining – Honduras
Russell Athletic is a Honduras-based garment supplier to the Fruit of The Loom brand. Russell Athletic was accused by US-based student bodies of not treating its workers ethically – specifically of refusing to allow unionisation of the workforce.
A North American student-led boycott of its t-shirts led to Russell Athletic discussing the situation with two NGO’s: the Fair Labour Association, FLA and the Worker Rights Consortium, WRC.
They jointly agreed that Russell Athletic needed to initiate collective bargaining, allow unionisation and recognise the trade union as a negotiating partner. The problem, with no history of collective bargaining and suspicion on both sides, was where to start.
Just Solutions’ Intervention
Via its collaborating partnership with Vectra International, Just Solutions was engaged to implement a programme of training in collective bargaining for the parties. The Nuevo Dia factory was chosen as the pilot facility to test the effectiveness of this transformation.
Just Solutions planned and delivered three training and workshop sessions. The first was to management to explain to them the processes of collective bargaining and recognition – its advantages; how to organise negotiations; how to research and prepare a case and what a collective agreement normally contains.
The training took the form of an extended simulation so that the practical skills to understand the processes of collective bargaining were effectively acquired.
The second training was with the trade unions to develop parallel skills in the same areas and to create a professional competence. For some of the participants this would be the first time that they had attempted to negotiate a collective agreement.
The third session was a joint practical workshop run over three days, where both sides sat down and effectively prepared their cases and started the process of collective bargaining.
The eventual result was a robust agreement between the union and Russell Athletic management. The union was formally recognised by Russell Athletic and they reached an accord that meets all criteria for future worker representation and collective bargaining.
Following the success of this initiative, Russell Athletic engaged a local non-governmental organisation to take the training that Just Solutions developed forward to its other factories in Honduras.
Today, Russell Athletic has industrial peace and very good relations in the factories across Honduras, and everybody, including Fruit of the Loom consumers in North America are satisfied with the result.
To discover more about how Just Solutions can help you, contact Vic Thorpe for a confidential discussion.