Good Clothes, Fair Pay was a grassroots campaign calling for living wage legislation across the garment, textile and footwear sector. We needed one million signatures from EU citizens by July 2023 in order to push for game-changing legislation that requires companies to conduct living wage due diligence in their global supply chains.
These people remain trapped in poverty while big fashion companies continue to profit from their hard work. It is a deeply unfair and exploitative system, and we must demand better. The Covid-19 pandemic has deepened wage insecurity for the people who make our clothes, leaving workers without any social safety net, and struggling to pay for food, healthcare and shelter.
This is why the Good Clothes Fair Pay campaign, a European Citizens’ Initiative for living wages in the fashion supply chain, is demanding legislation that helps achieve fair pay for textile and garment workers around the world.
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Good Clothes Fair Pay is a European Citizens’ Initiative to call on the European Commission to introduce legislation requiring that brands and retailers in the garment sector conduct specific due diligence in their supply chain to ensure workers are paid living wages.
The ECI – the European Citizens’ Initiative – is a unique instrument enabling citizens to call directly on the European Commission to propose legislation in an area of EU competence. The campaign must collect at least 1 million signatures from EU citizens. Anyone who is an EU citizen (EU passport or ID holder) can sign, no matter where they live.
If we reach our goal of 1 million signatures, then the European Commission must meet with us, respond to our successful ECI with an official communication, and may ask for a debate in the European Parliament.
Anyone who is an EU citizen (EU passport or ID holder) can sign, no matter where they live. If you are not an EU citizen, you can still support this campaign by sharing our content on social media and telling your family, friends and colleagues. Here’s how to get involved:
Better laws and regulations in Europe can make sure that companies all over the world do their part in ensuring that the workers in their supply chains are paid fairly.
The momentum required to support fairer supply chains at EU level has never been greater. The European Commission has committed to introducing mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence legislation compelling companies to take action in their supply chains. The ECI also builds on and aligns with other policy instruments such as the proposed EU Minimum Wage Directive, the OECD Due Diligence Guidance, the ILO MNE Declaration and the forthcoming EU strategy for sustainable textiles.
This will be the single biggest EU campaign on living wages in the garment sector to date. If successful, the legislation will be a groundbreaking step in building a fairer fashion system where brands are held accountable for the people who make their clothes. We believe that proactive policy like this is crucial for safeguarding millions of workers in the fashion supply chain, and that the EU can lead the way for positive change.
The EU is the largest clothes and textiles importer in the world, with over 69 billion euros’ worth of clothes imported by the EU in 2020. As the world’s largest single market, it has the responsibility to ensure that the clothes it sells are made in safe conditions and that the people who make them are paid fairly.
If global garment supply chains cross borders, we need legislation that crosses borders too. We need clear, transnational legislation at the EU level rather than a confusing patchwork in the 28 Member States to ensure more legal certainty, coherence and consistency.
The right to a living wage is a fundamental human right recognised by the United Nations.
Earning a living wage allows workers to provide for themselves and their dependant’s basic needs – including food, housing, education and healthcare as well as some discretionary income for unexpected events. It should be earned in a standard workweek of no more than 48 hours and should be earned before bonuses, allowances or overtime, and after taxes.
Trade unions, labour rights groups and academics have developed credible methodologies to calculate a living wage in the countries or regions where our clothes are made.
Living wage benchmarks rely on international standards and local data costs to calculate the cost of basic but decent life.
Research has shown that the key components of a credible living wage benchmark include the four following costs:
Food using international standards on decent food and local data on food costs
Housing using international standards on decent housing and local data on housing costs
Other essential needs such as transportation and healthcare
Small margin for unforeseen events such as illness or accidents
Wage costs make up a tiny fraction of the cost of our clothes. It’s a misconception that if garment workers are paid a living wage, consumers will see the prices of their clothes significantly increase. In fact, a report by Oxfam found that if brands paid garment workers living wages in the supply chain, it would increase the final cost of a piece of clothing by just 1%.
Brands often have billionaire owners and massive profits. It should be the brand’s responsibility to absorb the cost increase and pay garment workers a living wage – rather than pass on this cost to consumers. This legislation is part of a vision for a radically different business model for the fashion industry, where brands reduce their environmental impacts, reduce the amount of clothes they make and ensure the people who make our clothes are treated fairly and paid living wages.
Good Clothes, Fair Pay is led by Fashion Revolution and our global network alongside Fair Wear and ASN Bank. Clean Clothes Campaign, World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO), Fairtrade International and Solidaridad are our key campaign partners. Other supporting organisations include Remake, Anti-Slavery International, AWAJ Foundation, Empowerment Collective, IndustriALL, Asia Floor Wage, Common Objective, Fair Action, The Circle, Global Living Wage Coalition, Wage Indicator, Care International, The Industry We Want, Changing Markets and many more.
Our citizens’ committee consists of industry experts from across Europe: Irina van der Sluijs, Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead, Dr Stephanie Schrage, Tanja Gotthardsen, Ben Vanpeperstraete, Maeve Galvin, Martina Marekov Kuipers, Jos Huber, Milena Prisco, Maria van der Heide, Maria Prandi, Ineke Zeldenrust, Kirsten Kossen, Isabel Ripa and Mario Iveković.
If you would like to support this campaign, whether you’re an influencer, journalist, artist or activist, contact us to get involved!