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Working Conditions

Grievance Mechanisms

GRI Content Index

Early identification of employee-related issues is crucial to ensuring not only basic Code of Conduct compliance but also to creating an engaging workplace by supporting effective and genuinely open lines of communication between managers and workers. This is accomplished at all of Gildan’s administrative offices and manufacturing facilities through formal grievance mechanisms that comprise the following:

Open Door Policy

  • An open door policy encourages any employee to contact management on any matter and receive immediate feedback.


  • Roundtables are organized by the management team and employees in order to identify best practices, to discuss grievances, and to collectively develop an action plan for remediation
  • Provide immediate feedback to the employee
  • The frequency of the roundtables varies by region and may be organized on a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly basis

Worker-management committees

Several worker-management committees have been created at our various locations in order to share opinions and help manage various workplace issues. In addition to the health and safety and ergonomics committees, other committees have been formed and members meet monthly to discuss subjects including transportation, cafeteria and environmental initiatives, or to address specific issues at a particular facility or office. The following are examples of committees that were created, and of some of the excellent initiatives that have been developed as a result:

  • In Honduras, an environmental committee has been created to oversee all environmental activities at our textile complex, such as recycling, reforestation, and circulation of educational bulletins.
  • In the Dominican Republic, various committees were formed for employees from various shifts to work on opinion survey results and establish an action plan to address areas identified for improvement.
  • In Barbados, a staff committee is responsible for planning employee activities. This committee along with the Green and Wellness committee also acts as an information conduit for employees to voice their concerns or as a mechanism through which they can submit their suggestions.
  • In Bangladesh, the Worker's Participation Committee and Environmental Health and Safety Committee are comprised of workers and management representatives. The Workers Participation Committee meets every two months to discuss issues presented by worker representatives. Ten members (5 workers and 5 managers) are elected annually by vote. The Environmental, Health and Safety Committee meets monthly to discuss safety issues, to monitor both the Company’s and workers’ compliance with health and safety prevention measures, to formulate action plans and address areas needing improvement. 

Suggestion boxes

Suggestion boxes located on the production floor and in cafeterias of every manufacturing facility in Central America, the Caribbean Basin and Bangladesh are one of the grievance mechanisms put in place to allow employees to report their concerns anonymously. Written messages are recuperated from the boxes bi-weekly by a regional, non-management employee.

  • In Honduras, more than 6,200 suggestions were received in 2016. The majority of the concerns pertained to Human Resources matters, operational issues and middle management, all of which were resolved through regional Human Resources offices.
  • In the Dominican Republic, we received more than 100 suggestions related to the cafeteria, Human Resources matters, as well as operational issues and middle management issues.
  • In Bangladesh, 27 suggestions were received and related to cafeteria services, ideas for the annual Family Day picnic, uniforms and Human Resources matters.
  • In Barbados, suggestion boxes are located on all floors in all buildings. Employee suggestions from the boxes are collected on a regular basis and addressed during quarterly staff meetings. Over the years, many successful programs have been initiated based on employee suggestions originating from our suggestion boxes. These suggestions have included the implementation of the cooperatives program at the Rio Nance facilities in Honduras, the construction of a covered parking area for motorcycles at San Miguel, the establishment of the Green Committee in Barbados, and changes in incentive programs and the adoption of new ideas for the Family Day activities held in Bangladesh.
  • Although not all facilities in the U.S. have been equipped with suggestion boxes, our yarn spinning facilities in Salisbury, NC and facilities in Charleston, SC have installed them.  We also plan to station the suggestion boxes at our distribution centers located in Mebane, NC and Hamer, SC.
  • In 2017, suggestions boxes will be implemented in the production areas of Gildan Apparel (Canada) LP (formerly known as Doris Inc., acquired in 2014).
  • We have seen an increase in the number of suggestions received over the past few years. We attribute this to various efforts to raise awareness and encourage the use of grievance mechanisms placed at employees’ disposal. We also believe that since all suggestions are addressed and that employees receive feedback to their ideas, participation has been on the rise.  In fact, several safety improvements have been implemented as a direct result of employee suggestions placed in the boxes.  For instance, a clerk in Charleston, SC identified the need for safety netting around the rails of the upper floors where she works to prevent any boxes or materials from falling, causing a hazard to employees working on the lower levels below. The netting was installed following an inspection of the area.

Toll-free Integrity and Social Responsibility Hotline and website link

A toll-free Integrity and Social Responsibility Hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, enabling Gildan employees to anonymously and/or confidentially report concerns in English, French, Spanish, Creole and Bengali.

  • This hotline is part of our whistle blowing policy launched in 2004 and is used as a tool for reporting alleged violations of the Gildan Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics and Anti-Corruption Policy and Compliance Program.
  • The hotline is tested annually by the Company’s internal audit department
  • In 2016, we received a total of 23 calls related to Human Resources issues, and more precisely to labour issues and workplace conduct. Every complaint has been investigated and followed up by the Employee Concerns and Questionable Acts Committee at the Company’s Head Office.
  • Each one of the reported complaints is investigated and followed up by management teams or, if submitted through the Hotline, by the Employee Concerns and Questionable Acts Committee. If senior management is involved in the complaint, the Board of Directors is consulted. During audits at all of our third-party contractor facilities, we also verify that grievance mechanisms are effectively in place.

In July 2016, middle management and management teams from three Alstyle manufacturing facilities in Mexico were trained on Gildan’s Code of Conduct and grievance mechanisms, as a post-acquisition integration activity. We also trained employees from Peds Legwear, our recently acquired hosiery facility in the United States, on our grievance mechanisms and the Hotline.

  • Using creativity to promote grievance mechanisms

    As part of the induction training provided for new employees at Gildan, we proactively advertise our available grievance mechanisms. In addition, specific training on their use is provided. Colourful posters promoting the Integrity and Social Responsibility Hotline are also placed in common areas within all our facilities and offices.