A LIVING WAGE FOR GARMENT WORKERS

Our fashion and purchasing decisions impact the lives of women and girls across the world. We stand in solidarity with the millions of women garment workers who deserve a living wage. Our ground-breaking proposal for new EU legislation will help to end poverty pay for garment workers globally, and protect their fundamental right to a living wage.

This campaign is led by members of our Lawyers Circle Network and activists.

READ THE REPORT

STANDING IN SOLIDARITY WITH GARMENT WORKERS WORLDWIDE

We are calling time on the poverty wages paid to garment workers with an ambitious proposal to secure fair and living wages within the fashion industry’s global supply chains. Our third report, Fashion Focus: A proposal for New EU Legislation on a Living Wage, urges the EU to take steps to ensure that garment workers’ fundamental right to a living wage is protected so that the women who make our clothes are paid enough to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

Thank you to ©Better Work/ILO/IFC for allowing us to use their photography.

WE BELIEVE

Garment workers should no longer be:
  • Denied their fundamental human rights
  • Paid poverty wages that do not allow them to sustain a basic decent life but trap them in poverty
  • Refused the fundamental rights to collective bargaining and freedom of association
GARMENT WORKERS SHOULD BE:
  • Treated with dignity, fairness and respect by employers and by the companies who profit from the clothes they make
  • Listened to when contracts are cancelled and factories close
  • Entitled to have their needs met during crisis

WE COMMIT TO THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS TO CREATE A FAIRER FASHION WORLD

  • Lobby the institutions of the EU to enshrine garment workers’ right to a living wage in law
  • Raise awareness and amplify the voices of garment workers so that consumers understand the issues and are empowered to take action
  • Raise funds to provide emergency support to garment workers facing destitution
  • Ensure that garment workers across the world have the right to a living wage, protection at work, and the freedom to have their voices heard through collective bargaining and freedom of association
  • End the exploitation of garment workers by working in coalition with organisations fighting for a fairer fashion world

living wage

watch a Fifteen-minute documentary showing the scale of the problem in fashion supply chains and the impact on women across the world. Produced by Circle Ambassador, Livia Firth and award-winning Director, Andrew Morgan.

hear from kalpona akter, leading activist who started work in a factory at age 12

The work this industry creates is not dignified as we don't have a living wage.

If my mum had received a wage we could live on, I wouldn't have had to toil in a factory from the age of 12.

Kalpona Akter, Founder of the Bangladesh Centre for Workers' Solidarity, and Circle Ambassador

Kalpona Akter, Founder of the Bangladesh Centre for Workers' Solidarity, and Circle Ambassador

Circle Reports

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A Proposal for New EU Legislation on A Living Wage

In our most recent report, released in 2021, we set out a detailed legislative proposal aimed at reversing the “race to the bottom”. Our proposal targets the disincentive in the global labour market that means governments in garment producing countries don’t increase their statutory minimum wage levels, for fear of losing jobs to lower wage countries.

Read the report

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TOWARDS A LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR A LIVING WAGE

For this report, launched in 2019, we conducted an in-depth legal analysis of EU precedents that support living wage legislation, and from this developed an initial proposal for a living wage regulatory structure. The report and its findings were discussed by key stakeholders at the first UK Living Wage Symposium we convened in London on 8th November 2019.

Read the report

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THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO A LIVING WAGE

Developed in partnership with TrustLaw and the Clean Clothes Campaign, our 2017 report sets out the legal argument that a living wage is a fundamental human right that companies and governments have a responsibility to uphold. The report examines relevant labour regulations in fourteen major garment production countries, showing how statutory minimum wages in all fall far below a living wage.

Read the report

Explore Living Wage reports, resources and the history of The Circle's campaign work on this key issue:

Explore more key reports and resources from The Circle relating to Living Wage and other areas critical to co-creating a feminist future for all.