Update Information about the Jo-In Project in Turkey
January 2007: JO-IN Assessments conclude; Turkish Local Working Group convenes to review the findings
The JO-IN workplace assessments process which began in November 2006 (see December update) were completed in late January 2007. A synthesis report (coded to maintain confidentiality, at the request of participants) was drafted, assessing the Brand-supplying factories according to 56 indicators, under the following heads:
- Information concerning the assessment process
- Some key characteristics of the assessed workplaces
- Some key characteristics of the workforce, including representation & development systems
- Audit history, and outcomes, in the assessed workplaces
- Wages, and incomes-related issues
- Hours of work
- Freedom of Association aspects
The Turkish Local Working Group (LWG) convened on January 30, hosted by ITKIB, the Turkish Exporters' Association, to review and discuss the findings. The LWG concluded that the findings contained 'no surprises' i.e. they accurately reflected, in broad terms, the current reality in the Turkish garment industry production chain, at the level which supplies to the major Brands.
JO-IN noted that the assessments were not an audit. They were done as a reality check, to set a 'baseline' for the next phase of the Project, the Remediations. The critical measurement in the JO-IN process is the actual improvements, and the good-faith efforts towards improvements, that are made by the participating suppliers, in collaboration with the other JO-IN stakeholders.
February 2007: First joint meeting between the JO-IN Steering Committee and the Turkish Local Working Group, in Istanbul
On February 7, the first joint meeting took place between the JO-IN Steering Committee and the JO-IN Turkish Local Working Group, which brings together all relevant stakeholder groups. The focus of the meeting was to review together the outcomes of the Assessments Phase of the Project, and to discuss the next Phase planned, i.e. the Remediations.
The LWG broke away into their customary 4 sub-groups (Suppliers, Brands, Labour/NGOs, Government) for discussion, and returned to table their views on how JO-IN should approach the coming Phase. Key concerns tabled included
- A strong call from the Labour/NGO group for their greater inclusion in the JO-IN processes. To date, the JO-IN methodology had been seriously inadequate, in their view.
- From the suppliers, a request for greater clarity from JO-IN on Freedom of Association: what exactly is it?
- From the Brands, a call for a 'sustainable' JO-IN-within-Turkey, in which the relationships established during the Project could continue after its conclusion.
- From the Government Trade Department, the recommendation for a macro-output from JO-IN in the form of a greater trade focus by the various stakeholders. JO-IN should also consider going to China for its next Project to encourage better Social Standards there.
In response, JO-IN confirmed that its 'roadmap' for the Remediations phase (the focus of the JO-IN Steering Committee meeting the following day) would take seriously into account the various LWG inputs.
JO-IN Steering Committee adopts 'roadmap' for the final Phase of the Project
Meeting in Istanbul on February 8, the JO-IN steering Committee commented favourably on the development of the lWG since September 2006, and noted the need to work more closely with the LWG henceforward. The Steering Committee endorsed many of the LWG perspectives expressed the previous day, and included many of the LWG suggestions in the 'roadmap' drawn up for 2007.
Key features of the 'roadmap' adopted included:
- The acceptance of the need for both a micro and macro focus within the Project, to facilitate sustainability. Thus, the Project would not only address remediations within the participating suppliers, but facilitate the LWG's engagement with broader issues which are 'root causes' of problems at workplace level.
- A consensus-seeking approach to the coming Remediations Phase, which would include regularly seeking the views of the LWG's Labour/NGO subgroup.
- An International Conference, scheduled for May 15, where understandings of the FoA issue would be developed by considering the inter-connection between better industrial relations, better supplier capacity, and better overall productivity.
- Continuation and conclusion by April 2007 of the JO-IN research into the dynamics of the garment industry sub-contracting system; and startup of a second research focus: the characteristics and efficacy of the garment industry grievance/complaints processing chain for Turkish workers to raise their problems, and how this relates to the response systems set up by the 6 JO-IN constituent organizations.
JO-IN International Advisory Panel (IAP) convenes for the first time
On February 20, the JO-IN IAP held its first tele-conference. This long-mooted development brings together International representatives of four 'constituencies':
the Brands , global NGOs, global Trade Unions, and Garment Industry suppliers' representatives, to advise on:
- What current international trends/changes in social standards monitoring and development are evident, and how these may impact on the JO-IN Project in Turkey , and
- How the lessons emerging from the JO-IN Project in Turkey might be utilised on the global terrain, both now and after the JO-IN Project concludes in December 2007.
On the call into JO-IN's Istanbul office were representatives of Nike, Marks and Spencer (for the Brands), the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation, the International Confederation of Trade Unions (for global labour), Oxfam and Maquila Solidarity (for global NGOs). Representation by the IAF (International Apparel Federation), to represent suppliers, has been invited but awaits confirmation.