In 2020 we engaged with experts to identify what had worked well in driving wage increases between 2013 and 2019. Based on this evidence, we have refocused our efforts.
At the same time, we have used input from stakeholders and industry experts to develop the best mix of interventions, adding new areas where we want to use our influence. As a result, key components of our strategy are the programme to set up wage-management systems, strengthening factory-level industrial relations and responsible purchasing practices. We’re also addressing systemic issues, including wage-setting mechanisms, such as collective bargaining and statutory minimum wage, at country level and implementing nationally appropriate social protection systems. We are also focusing more on supporting productivity increases at factories.
Results of our wages work and stakeholder consultation have reinforced our ambitions to:
- Move to a more localised, market-based approach based on data so we can do what works best in each region.
- Focus on social protection as an integral part of statutory minimum-wage advocacy.
- Extend external engagement to create industry-wide awareness and action, including collaboration beyond our sector.
- Inform and educate suppliers about our commitment to improving wage systems through clear incentives and requirements.
- Help our suppliers improve productivity so they can pay higher wages and still remain competitive.
- Ensure internal cooperation, with business and public affairs teams working together for systemic changes.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for better social security for garment industry workers. We are working with the ILO Call to Action, a coalition of more than 125 brands who have come together to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic and build a stronger industry for the long term. The initiative calls for action to protect garment workers’ income, health and employment, support employers to survive during the Covid-19 crisis, and to work together to establish sustainable systems of social protection for a more just and resilient garment industry.
An International Working Group, convened by the ILO and coordinated by International Organization of Employers (IOE) and International Trade Union Confederation, has been working since April 2020 to deliver on the commitments and to support progress in priority countries, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Pakistan. The Working Group includes brands and manufacturers, workers and employer organisations, and governments.
In addition, we’ve commissioned external research and met with industry stakeholders, such as the ILO and other brands, to explore solutions for building national social-security systems.
We monitored the wages levels and number of workers in our supply chain for the first six months of 2020 to track the impact of the pandemic. Here are the results.
We’re continuing to examine what a responsible transition to a circular fashion industry means for people and their jobs in practice, for example through the project “Keeping Workers in the Loop”, led by BSR Laudes Foundation.