Gildan Activewear, Honduras

On February 8, 2011, the Collective of Honduran Women (Colectiva de Mujeres Hondureñas, CODEMUH) filed a Third Party Complaint with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) with respect to ergonomics at facilities in Honduras owned and operated by Gildan Activewear.

The FLA accepted the complaint and requested that Gildan Activewear provide a response to the allegations. The affiliated company provided responses with detailed information regarding its ergonomics program. To fully ascertain the suitability and sustainability of this program, the FLA engaged ergonomics experts Dr. Lylliam López Narváez and Dr. Luis Blanco of the Universidad de León in Nicaragua to evaluate the company’s ergonomics program at the Honduran facilities through in-factory assessments and interviews with key external and internal stakeholders.

The experts’ reports and findings indicated that while Gildan Activewear had implemented at their facilities ergonomic programs that are comprehensive and have been developed with the input of world-class ergonomics consultancies, including the Ergonomics Center at North Carolina State University – there remain implementation gaps, in particular in the area of worker involvement, understanding, and participation in the programs. Gildan Activewear has developed and is already implementing a remedial action plan to address the issues raised by the experts in their report.  The FLA’s summary report with an update on the implementation of Gildan Activewear’s action plan, together with the experts’ detailed assessment report, are available below in English and Spanish.

The wide-ranging and systemic nature of the allegations put forward by CODEMUH made it challenging to apply the Third Party Complaint process methodology – which was intended to address quite specific noncompliances with the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct – to the subject complaints.  At the February 2013 meeting of its Board of Directors, the FLA adopted a broader concept of safeguards intended to provide a suite of approaches to deal with significant and persistent patterns of code noncompliance in a manner that best responds to the situation at hand and enhances stakeholder participation and consultation.

The FLA intends to continue to engage with CODEMUH outside of the Third Party Complaint framework to review the findings and conclusions of the experts’ report as well as the adequacy of the remediation plan to discuss practical and sustainable approaches to preventing workplace injuries at the Gildan Activewear facilities in Honduras.