Blockchain Aids Protecting Migrant Workers in Delta Galil’s Operations
Bangkok – On 31 August, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a related organization of the United Nations, and Diginex completed an innovative blockchain partnership which sought to enhance the protection of migrant workers in international fashion supply chains.
Using blockchain, the project collected information on recruitment and employment experiences of Myanmar migrant workers employed in a Delta Galil-owned garment manufacturing facility in Thailand. The information gathered enabled Delta Galil to pinpoint the stages of the labour migration journey where migrants are particularly vulnerable to exploitation.
The closure of Thai borders in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 prevented Delta Galil from recruiting additional migrant workers to the detriment of the Thai factory’s performance. The findings of the project will help strengthen the company’s existing recruitment and employment systems in preparation for the resumption of international recruitment from Myanmar into Thailand.
“With mobility restrictions due to COVID-19, technology is becoming increasingly important to businesses who want to connect with migrant workers,” said Ms. Geraldine Ansart, Chief of Mission at IOM Thailand. “According to the Ministry of Labour’s survey conducted in May 2021, Thai employers will require over 420,000 migrant workers to bolster the nations’ workforce, with garment production being a key sector in demand of migrant workers,” she added.
This innovative partnership used eMin, a mobile-optimized and blockchain-based platform developed by Diginex and built on the open-source and secure Tezos Protocol, a self-upgradeable proof of stake blockchain, to collect information from over 130 Myanmar migrant workers employed in a Delta Galil-owned garment factory in Ayutthaya, Thailand between 9 and 23 April 2021. The company also tested employment contract-sharing functions that are crucial in addressing labour migration protection challenges, such as contract substitution.
eMin also served as an outlet for migrant workers to talk about the impact that COVID-19 had on their mental health and well-being. Upon workers’ request, IOM developed and disseminated informational materials on maintaining good mental health during the current situation tailored specifically to their needs.
Delta Galil is a global manufacturer and marketer of branded and private label apparel products. The company is an affiliate of the Fair Labour Association, a multi-stakeholder initiative striving to improve worker conditions worldwide, which is also consistent with Delta Galil’s code of conduct.
“Due to the fact that migrant workers are strangers in a foreign land, in most cases without families and not knowing the local language and culture, they are very much reliant on their employer and fellow workers,” said Mr. Leslie Shull, Global Compliance Director at Delta Galil. “The attitude of the local management and staff is key in ensuring workers are happy and contented. It also creates increased efficiency,” he added.
Mr. Leslie explained that the project helped identify areas where Delta Galil must take a deeper dive to improve conditions for migrant workers in its Thai facility. It has also informed the direction of a forthcoming review of its factory management system and the employer-worker communications channels.
Ms. Leanne Melnyk, Head of Global Supply Chains at Diginex echoed Delta Galil stressing the role of technology in driving greater transparency and trust during the labour recruitment process.
“Our results showed that technology can facilitate better communication between migrant workers and their managers while helping international companies to get a bird’s eye view of recruitment trends and risks in their supply chain at a regional and even global level,” she added.
This initiative is part of IOM’s Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking in the Fashion Industry (CREST Fashion), funded by Laudes Foundation. CREST Fashion is a regional partnership that aims to realize the potential of business to uphold the rights of migrant workers in their operations and supply chains.
Note to Editor:
About Blockchain and Tezos Protocol
Blockchain is a digital system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change. Tezos Protocol is a self-upgradable blockchain with an established history. It is among the first to incorporate proof-of-stake - a consensus mechanism that aligns the incentives of participants to keep costs low, avoid centralization, and put network power in the hands of stakeholders.
Diginex is a disruptive impact tech business helping organisations to address the world’s most pressing sustainability issues, utilising the latest blockchain technology to lead change and increase transparency.