Switzerland is helping to improve working conditions in the garment industry
An independent impact study published by a research team from Tufts University has proven that an improvement in working conditions in the garment industry does not only improve worker well-being but is also good for business. That is the goal of a programme supported by SECO implemented in seven countries, covering 1300 factories and more than 1.6 million workers
Since 2009, SECO (State Secretariat for Economic Affairs) has supported the “Better Work” programme in the garment industry, a joint initiative of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). This programme helps export businesses improve their working conditions and promotes competitiveness in the global supply chains.
The impact assessment published yesterday proves that factories in the Better Work programme benefit in terms of quality, productivity as well as profitability. The research team also finds a link between company training for women and increase in productivity. In fact, 80 % of workers in the garment industry are women and training of supervisors has led to a 20 % increase in productivity.
For several years now, SECO has supported the creation of better-quality jobs in its partner countries for economic cooperation, and these results now confirm that social progress goes hand with hand with economic progress.
The Better Work programme is a win-win solution for all those involved. Workers have been able to increase family remittances, thanks to higher wages and less pay discrimination. The case of Vietnam shows that rather than damaging business, these improvements have actually improved sales performances. After four years in the programme, Vietnamese factories have seen a 25 % increase in profits.