Charles Kernaghan of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights recently reported the following good news from Bangladesh: “At the Next Collection factory, we were able to demand the firing of ten corrupt and highly abusive senior managers. Today, the workers are no longer beaten, forced to toil 14- to 17-hour shifts, seven days a week, and cheated of their wages and overtime. Thanks to serious and ongoing collaboration among the workers, the Institute and Gap, some 50,000 workers at Next Collection and other factories belonging to the giant Ha-Meem Group receive their legal benefits and decent working conditions.”
We join with the IGLHR in praise for the efforts of all stakeholders to bring about such significant positive change, with particular admiration for Verité’s long-time partner Sheva, led by Sayeeda Khan, which provided the transformative policy and technical consultation and training for Next Collection.
Through more than a year of meetings with management at all levels, workers and local union representatives, Sheva’s team guided policy changes at the highest level and advised on the implementation of socially responsible strategies, particularly around worker engagement. The team facilitated the Next Collection management in drafting and systematically implementing new Human Resources Management policies and processes covering discipline, harassment, benefits, pay, work hours, worker participation and other focus issues.
For the rollout of the new policies, Sheva provided numerous rounds of policy and process training to mid-level management, Training of Trainers to develop a core of internal master trainers, and positive techniques skills workshops to supervisors. Sheva also trained hundreds of workers on their rights and responsibilities and facilitated the full integration of the worker-based Participation Committee as a mechanism for worker engagement. Sheva’s work demonstrates the impact possible when committed buyers leverage technical expertise in willing supplier facilities.