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Implementing a Global Framework Agreement to Improve Working Conditions in Supply Chains

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Tchibo, a German coffee and consumer goods retailer, signed a Global Framework Agreement (GFA) in 2016 with IndustriALL Global Union, a global trade union federation representing workers in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors. The GFA commits Tchibo and IndustriALL to work together to support the application of key labour standards in the company’s non-food supply chain.

Tchibo’s “WE – Worldwide Enhancement of Social Equality Program” (WE Program) plays a central part in bringing the GFA to life. Initially piloted in China, the WE Program currently encompasses facilities in eight additional countries that produce garments, jewelry and household goods for Tchibo. When a new factory enters the WE Program, workers, worker representatives and managers jointly discuss and prioritize issues related to working conditions (e.g.wages, hours, discrimination, harassment etc.). With support from a team of local WE Facilitators, factories then embark on a multi-year process of enhancing worker-management dialogue to collaboratively address the identified challenges. Upon completion of the programme, WE Facilitators check in regularly and support the continuous integration of dialogue processes.

In line with the objectives of the GFA, representatives from Tchibo, IndustriALL as well as WE Facilitators collaborate to adjust the programme’s activities to each country’s specific circumstances. In addition, IndustriALL advises the company on how to strengthen trade union rights within the WE Program. In 2020, more than 4,000 workers and managers participated in WE Program activities and 25 new factories joined the programme, bringing the overall number of currently enrolled Tchibo suppliers to 90 and contributing to the overall implementation of the GFA.

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