Asian dialogues on sustainability

COVID-19 and beyond: “How can social dialogue help us get through the crisis together?”

COVID-19 has disrupted supply chains globally, resulting in reduced orders and incomes, factory closures and job losses. The implications for developing countries are enormous. This webinar sheds light on how social dialogue between Employers and Unions can contribute to the survival and recovery of textile and garment industry in Asia. (The webinar is free and open to all.)

The webinar is open for all and free to attend. Please register here.

Part of the Asian Dialogues on Sustainability series, this is the third webinar to be co-organized by the GIZ FABRIC programme and ILO’s Decent Work in Garment Supply Chains Asia project, examining the impact of Covid-19 on the Asian garment industry. 

This discussion focuses on how social dialogue has fared in the sector during the pandemic, and the ways it has been deployed both to manage current disruptions on the factory floor and adapt to the new normal to ensure businesses are both resilient and ready for the recovery.

Drawing on insights from industry leaders from across the region, the event will look at why so many firms struggle to adopt and sustain effective dialogue mechanisms, whilst also highlighting recent approaches at the firm and industry level that are supporting both business resilience and long term improvements to working conditions.

This webinar is open to all and would be of particular interest to key industry actors such as brands and retailers, manufacturers, worker and employer organizations, multi-stakeholder initiatives, policymakers, and civil society organizations. 

Introductory remarks will be provided by Mr John Ritchotte, Labour Administration and Labour Relations Specialist with the ILO’s Decent Work Technical Team in Bangkok.


Ms Khaing Zar Aung, President, Industrial Workers' Federation of Myanmar (IWFM) and Treasurer, Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM)
Ms Khaing is a well-known voice representing workers both nationally in her native Myanmar and internationally. Leaving school at 16 to work in a garment factory, she completed bachelor’s degree in economics via distance learning, and joined the trade union movement in 2007 with the National Council of the Union of Burma and CTUM.  After rising through the ranks to become president of IWFM, she has been instrumental in shaping the strategic direction of the Federation, and also played a key role negotiating Myanmar’s recent Freedom of Association (FOA) Guidelines and newly negotiated Joint Framework for Action in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the sector.

Ms Gladys Tang, Senior Sustainability Manager, Tchibo Merchandising Hong Kong, China
Gladys has been working on Human Rights and Social Compliance for more than 15 years. Having started as Human Rights Compliance specialist for Ann Taylor Sourcing in 2004, she became Manager of Global Labor Compliance for Eddie Bauer International in 2006, where she oversaw workplace performance functions for their Asian suppliers. In 2011, she became Human Rights Compliance Manager at Warnaco Global Sourcing, before joining German brand Tchibo in 2014 as Senior Sustainability Manager overseeing worker dialogue and engagement initiatives in the region.

Mr Suryadi Sasmita, PT Indonesia Wacoal Factory and Vice Chairman, APINDO
Mr Suryadi Sasmita is the owner of PT Indonesia Wacoal, a leading apparel factory operating out of West Java. Wacoal makes women’s undergarments and has more recently pivoted to making masks as part of a business contingency and worker retention strategy during Covid-19. He is also the Vice Chairman of the Indonesian Employer’s Association (Asosiasi Pengusaha Indonesia) APINDO, which recently unveiled a new Joint Commitment with industry trade unions aimed at managing the fallout and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, with a focus on occupational safety and health, business sustainability and worker welfare.

Mr Amilthan Suntharalingam, Bangladesh Country Head, Hop Lun Limited
Mr Amilthan Suntharalingam is the new Bangladesh Country Head of Hop Lun, a leading regional manufacturing group that specialises in fashion lingerie, swimwear, casual wear and nightwear. The Hong Kong based company owns 11 factories in Bangladesh, China and Indonesia. Mr Amilthan was a key driving force behind a new collective bargaining agreement signed between Hop Lun and the Sommolito Union in Bangladesh, which has been praised for its vision and commitment to advancing social dialogue in the country’s RMG sector.  Prior to arriving in Bangladesh, Mr Amilthan spent 10 years in production management with MAS Holdings and Brandix in Sri Lanka, before becoming Head of Operations and Corporate Manufacturing Excellence for Hop Lun Indonesia.