LIVING WAGE NOW Forum – October 12 – 14th 2015

Living Wage Now Forum in Brussels from 12 – 14 October 2015

Support garment workers as they campaign for a living wage now!
Support garment workers as they campaign for a living wage now!

From October 12 to 14, 2015, Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) organises the Living Wage Now Forum in Brussels. For three days, CCC will take the next steps together with officials from major fashion brands, workers’ representatives from around the world and European policy makers and work towards a living wage for all garment workers.

Since 2013, the Clean Clothes Campaign network has actively supported the mobilisation for a living wage, bringing to Europe the voice of the garment workers worldwide.

Nearly three years on and the campaign has paid off with a  global movement for a living wage consolidating and businesses and policy makers committed to a common goal.

But commitment alone is not enough. Millions of workers still live in unbearable conditions. Most of the women stitching our clothes earn only 20% to 30% of a living wage. The Living Wage Now Forum will be a unique experience that will take stock of the progress made since the beginning of this unprecedented global campaign, but especially encourage brands and politicans to finally move from rhetoric to action.



More than 200 participants

35 representatives of workers’ organizations from around the world;

49 representatives of the Clean Clothes Campaign global network;

8 international brands (H&M, Inditex/Zara, C&A, Tchibo, Tesco, N’Brown, New Look, Pentland, Primark) and 5 Belgian brands (E5 Mode, JBC, Lola & Liza Stanley & Stella, Bel & Bo)

Several members of the European Parliament, and Mr. Klaus Rudischhauser, Deputy Director General for Development and Cooperation;

Representatives of international organizations such as the ILO and the OECD;

Academics and representatives of organizations active in the field of business and human rights.


You can find the full program here:


Here you find information about some of the speakers and more:

Living Wage Now! CCC Ireland will deliver your signatures to MEPs in Brussels on October 13th. Add your support before we go!

Support Garment Workers calling for a Living Wage Now!
Support Garment Workers calling for a Living Wage.

Show your support for garment workers around the world as they call for a #livingwage now.

I want the people who make my clothes to earn a Living Wage

I want the women and men who stitch my clothes to earn enough to feed their family, pay their rent and live with dignity and without the fear of destitution.

A living wage is a human right, for all people all over the world and I say it's time to pay a living wage to all garment workers.


531 signatures

Thanks for signing! maybe you'd like to share this with your friends on facebook find us at /CCCIreland or followers on twitter we're @CleanClothesIre. Thanks again!


Global pressure urges retailers to ‘close the gap’ in funding in time for second anniversary of Rana Plaza disaster.

24th April 2015 marks the two-year anniversary of the worst industrial accident to ever hit the garment industry, when the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh came crashing down killing 1134 garment workers.

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and its trade union allies and partners are marking the second anniversary of disaster, with a global call to action, demanding that the Rana Plaza survivors and victims’ families immediately receive the full compensation they are entitled to; and that all apparel brands and retailers.

Despite the growing urgency, brands continue to postpone payments to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund, or make payments that are clearly insufficient to close the $4.5 million gap in funds necessary to ensure the survivors of Rana Plaza receive full and fair compensation.

The ILO set up the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund in January 2014 to collect compensation for the victims of the disaster. The Rana Plaza Coordination Committee (RPCC), set up in October 2013, was tasked with developing and overseeing the compensation process, known as the Arrangement. The RPCC includes representatives from the Bangladesh government, Bangladesh industry, global brands and retailers, Bangladeshi and international trade unions and Bangladeshi and international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), with the ILO acting as the neutral chair. In the development of the Arrangement the brand representatives refused to set specific payment amounts for each company.

Since the opening of the Fund in January 2014 campaigners have argued that donations should reflect a company’s ability to pay, the size of their relationship with Bangladesh and the extent of their relationship with Rana Plaza however nearly every brand linked to the Rana Plaza building has made insufficient donations, thus failing to live up to their responsibilities to the victims. Some brands, such as Mango, Matalan, and Inditex have refused to disclose their donation. Others, such as Walmart and The Children’s Place, while publicly disclosing their donation, still only contributed a minimal amount.

“We need to start asking questions as to why out of all the companies with direct links to Rana Plaza only two – Primark and Loblaw – have stepped up in a financially meaningful way, showing that they take their responsibilities seriously, and that they do respect the lives of workers. If all the other companies involved had followed suit, we would not be entering into this funding crisis that we are today, just one day until the anniversary of the disaster and still facing over a 4 million shortfall,” says Kate Nolan of the Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland.

On April 24, 2013, shortly after 8AM, the Rana Plaza building collapsed, when eight storeys of concrete came crashing down, killing 1,134 people. Many were killed instantly. Many others were buried alive, forcing some to amputate their own limbs in order to escape and survive. It is estimated that there were 3890 people in the Rana Plaza building at the time of collapse.

‘If we have learnt anything from this disaster it is that  it is vital that any retailer doing business in Bangladesh should be signed up to the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, not just those that were producing in Rana Plaza. That means Dunnes Stores and O’Neills and any company sourcingthier garments  from vulnerable workers in the Bangladesh garment sector. ‘ continues Kate

Fashion Revolution Day
Global actions began in Genova, Italy, on , 18 April and have continued across across the world in the week leading up to 24 April 2015 when social media activism is set to make a global noise under the hashtag #fashrev #whomademyclothes. Fashion Revelotuion Day is set to take over the social media platforms for the day as millions of  consumers ask a simple question to their favourite brands and retialers – who made my clothes? Intended as a mark of respect for garment workers around the world and instigated by London based designer Carry Sommers as a reaction to the Rana Plaza disaster, Fashion Revolution Day is marked in over 66 countries around the world.


Cambodian garment workers continue to struggle for a Living Wage after violent repression of wages strikes in early January

News Real report on the repercussions of  the violent reaction by police and military in Cambodia in January 2014 following garment workers wage strikes demanding a wage that would afford them life of dignity not poverty.   Since producing the below video activist Vorn Pao has now been released from jail following significant international campaigning. 

Stitched Up – New Report Finds Poverty Wages for Garment Workers in Eastern Europe and Turkey

Poverty wages for garment workers in Eastern Europe and Turkey

Clean Clothes Campaign works with garment workers all over the world.  While many people are aware of the terrible working conditions and poverty wages garment workers in Asia receive, a new report –Stitched Up   interviewing hundreds of workers in 10 countries across eastern Europe the report finds that poverty wages and shocking working conditions are endemic in the global garment industry.

Far from being a problem confined to garment workers in Asia Stitched Up has found that the idea that “Made in Europe”means better conditions for workers is a myth.

Busting the myths

The report shows that there are no good guys.

It is important that we put an end to the myths that paying more for clothes or sourcing from Europe guarantees decent working conditions. Brands and retailers have to take clear steps and show a true commitment within their own supply chain in order to ensure all those who work for them, wherever they may live, are paid a living wage.

Campaigners and workers are calling on European fashion brands to make sure as a first immediate step that workers in the researched region receive a basic net wage of at least 60% of the national average wage. Buying prices must be calculated on this basis and allow for these wage hikes.

Brands need to act now and make sure that garment workers in their own supply chain – be it Asia or Europe- receive a living wage.


Read the full report here

Stitched Up – Poverty Wages for garment workers in Eastern Europe and Turkey

View individual  country reports here


Ukraine          Turkey

Bulgaria         Croatia,

Slovakia,       Georgia,

Macedonia    Moldova.

Bosnia & Herxogovina



Web Tailored Wages Image banner

Tailored Wages – new report investigates clothing brands’ work on living wages.

 Survey of 39 leading clothing brands on Irish high-street show they must do much more to ensure garment workers receive a wage they can live on.

Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland has launched ‘Tailored Wages’ an in depth study of what the leading 39 clothing brands on the Irish and European high-street are doing to ensure that the workers who produce the clothes they sell are paid a living wage.

 Based on a multi-brand survey “Tailored Wages” found that whilst half of those surveyed included wording in their codes of conduct saying that wages should be enough to meet workers’ basic needs; only four brands – Inditex (Zara), Marks & Spencers, Switcher and Tchibo – were able to show any clear steps towards implementing this – and even they have a long way to go before a living wage becomes a reality for the garment workers that produce for them.

Irish retailers lag behind

 Of the Irish retailers requested to participate, only Penneys were willing to share their projects and ongoing work with relation to workers’ wages. Neither Dunnes Stores nor O’Neills sportswear suppliers were able to supply even rudimentary information on codes of conduct or ethical trading policies.

Download the full report hereTailored Wages 2014

More action and less talk

“Although a living wage is a human right, shockingly none of Europe’s leading 50 companies is yet paying a living wage,” said Anna McMullen, the lead author on the report. “The research showed that while more brands are aware of the living wage and recognise that it is something to be included in their codes of conduct and in CSR brochures, disappointingly for most of the brands surveyed this was as far as they went. With millions of women and men worldwide dependent on the garment industry it is vital that these words are turned into definitive actions sooner rather than later.”

Co-author, Kate Nolan of Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland added “We were disappointed but not surprised to find that so many retailers are doing so little to ensure living wages are met in their supply chains. The fact remains that a living wage is a human right and retailers who continue to abdicate their responsibilities in this matter are infringing upon those workers’ human rights”

Struggle for living wages reaching critical point

In key garment producing countries such as Bangladesh and Cambodia the struggle for a living wage continues, as latest figures from the Asia Floor Wage Alliance show that living wage levels are, on average, three times the minimum wage a garment worker receives.

Cambodian workers, currently receive  USD 100 a month, just 25% of the Asia Floor Wage calculation for Cambodia, while even after the post Rana Plaza disaster and enormous global pressure to increase the minimum wage to meet workers needs, Bangladesh stands at just 21%.

“My expenses are increasing every day,” says Lili, a factory worker from Cambodia. “Even if we [the workers] eat all together in a small room and I collect the money from all others, we still can only spend a very small amount each because everybody always thinks ‘how are we going to be able to send money home to our families?”



The Clean Clothes Campaign carried out the research to monitor how far policies are being turned into practice by major clothing brands. The role of companies in ensuring a living wage is paid is vital as they have the ability to change prices and purchasing practices that would ensure wages allowed garment workers to live with dignity.

What should a living wage cover



Tailored Wages is part of a global campaign run by Clean Clothes Campaign and partners the Asia Floor Wage Alliance calling on all brands and governments to take action in order to ensure a living wage is paid.

Bail Denied for 21 Cambodian Workers

Bail has been denied to the 21 remaining detained workers

We are sorry to report that this morning bail was refused for 21 of the 23 Cambodian men who were detained during January’s wage struggles.

The bail hearings were held in a closed session this morning, February 11th, with none of the 21 men in attendance.  All 21 men remain in the CC3 jail north of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, which is notorious for its harsh conditions. Two of the original 23 detainees, were released on bail last Saturday.

We are extremely disappointed at this turn of events and will continue to fight for their immediate release alongside our partners in Cambodia and around the world.

Background Information

On the 24th of December 2013 an estimated 50,000 to 200,000 garment workers went on strike in Cambodia. Their main demand was a living minimum wage of $US160 per month. They were joined by a number of other unions and workers also demanding the same minimum wage.

Demonstrators have faced continuous heavy government repression for demanding this wage. This has included attacks by police, military police, plain clothes thugs, and private security who between them have used an assortment of weapons including tear gas, grenades, axe handles, sling shots, electric batons, AK-47 rifles, and metal poles. By January 4th, 4 workers had been killed, 39 seriously injured, and 23 indefinitely detained in the remote and harsh CC3 prison.

Of those arrested 20 of them were garment workers, and 3 were prominent human rights defenders – Theng Savoeun, Vorn Pao, and Chan Puthisak.

Another 2 workers have since died from injuries sustained at these demonstrations.


You can still show your support.

Sign the Petition in support of the remaining detained workers.

The below email will be sent for the attention of the Cambodian Ambassedor stationed at the Cambodian Embassy in the UK.


[emailpetition id=”6″]

European Campaign calls on retailers to pay garment workers a living wage.

Activists in 15 countries across Europe demand clothing brands pay a living wage to garment workers.


Tomorrow, Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland is joining its European partners in launching a new campaign calling on clothing companies to Pay a Living Wage to garment workers. The #LivingWage campaign begins on 21st October with a week of action in 15 European countries.


The campaign launch comes exactly six months after the devastating collapse of Rana Plaza, in which 1,133 Bangladeshi workers were killed. Six months on from the largest industrial accident to hit the garment industry,  millions of workers continue to have no choice but to risk their lives in order to afford a decent life.


In Bangladesh, where an estimated 4 million people work in the garment industry, the current minimum wage is just €28.60 (3,000 taka) a month.  This is 11% of the €259.80 (27,369 taka) that Clean Clothes Campaign partner the Asia Floor Wage Alliance calculates to be a living wage for the country.


For many workers, the lack of a living wage means they must work long hours to earn overtime or bonuses and cannot risk taking time off due to unsafe working conditions or for ill health.

“We force ourselves to work long hours because the salary is not enough to live on, especially because my parents are dependent on my salary as well” says Horn Vy, a 25 year old garment worker in Cambodia.

For Horn Vy and other Cambodian garment workers the minimum wage is €60.95 (336,000 riel), just 21% of the €289.64 (1,596,059 riel) the Asia Floor Wage Alliance calculates to be a living wage in Cambodia.


“A living wage should be earned before overtime and allow a garment worker to be able to feed herself and her family, pay the rent, pay for healthcare and education and have a small amount of savings for when something unexpected happens.” says Kate Nolan, Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland.


The Irish Clean Clothes Campaign has brought this issue into focus with their 50 sense Campaign, choosing to highlight the truly tiny amount extra it would cost to achieve a living wage within the garment supply chain.



Arguments of supply and demand and cost sensitive markets don’t stand up against such a insignificant number. Just 50 cent more per garment, paid directly to a worker is the difference between her living with dignity or within a spiraling poverty trap.” says Kate Nolan, Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland


The increase of this €0.50 per garment accounts for just 1.42% of the retail price, a mere drop in the ocean of retailers like Penneys, H&M or Benetton who’s profits soar into the billions each year but as of yet no retailer has successfully integrated a living wage system into their supply chains.


Yet a recent survey carried out by Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland shows consumers expect retailers to do just this. According to Nolan,


We have seen a clear expectation expressed by consumers for retailers to pay a living wage to their workers. Of the 100 participants, 93% felt it was the responsibility of retailers to ensure their workers were paid a living wage, but we also saw that over 99% or consumers were willing to absorb part or all of the extra cost if retailers demanded it of them.”


“Companies must take steps to ensure they are paying a living wage in the countries they source from. Governments must ensure that minimum wages are set at levels that allow people to live with dignity. While low labour costs continue to be exploited throughout the industry it remains impossible to argue that the garment industry is benefiting those who work within it.



The 50 sense Campaign is supported by NGO’s, unions, schools, colleges and community groups across Ireland and from October 21st they will join activists and advocates for change across Europe to demand clothing companies take control of their supply chains and pay a living wage.


The Pay a Living Wage campaign is calling on:


  • clothing brands and companies to take action by setting concrete and measurable steps throughout their supply chain to ensure garment workers get paid a living wage.
  • national governments in garment producing countries to make sure minimum wages are set at living wage standards.
  • European governments to implement regulation that make sure companies are responsible for the impact they have on the lives of workers in their supply chain, including their right to earn a living wage.





Notes to editors:


For more information:


The Clean Clothes Campaign works with over 200 partner organisations worldwide to improve working conditions and support empowerment of workers in the global garment industry. The Campaign has offices in 12 European countries. 

The Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) is an international alliance of trade unions and labour rights activist who are working together to demand garment workers are paid a living wage.  Clean Clothes Campaign is a member of the alliance.

The Asia Floor Wage Alliance carry out regular food basket research in the region to calculate new Asia Floor Wage figures.  The 2013 Asia Floor Wage figure is PPP$725. (PPP$ – Purchasing Power Parity $ – are an imaginary World Bank currency built on the consumption of goods and services by people, allowing standard of living between countries to be compared regardless of the national currency. ) To see the AFW in local currency please visit

Living wage calculations must take into account some common factors including the number of family members to be supported, the basic nutritional needs of a worker and other basic needs including housing, healthcare, education and some basic savings.

The Asia Floor Wage Alliance base their calculations on the following assumptions:

  1. A worker needs to be able to support themselves and two other “consumption units” (1 Consumption unit = 1 adult or 2 children)
  2. An adult requires 3,000 calories a day in order to be able to carry out their work.
  3. In Asia food costs account for half a workers monthly outgoings.

Congratulations! Over 30 Global Brands have signed the Bangladesh Safety Accord.











Thanks to you major steps have been made to protect garment workers in over 1000 Bangladeshi factories.

Over million people worldwide signed the petitions.

More than 1,100 people died in the Rana Plaza building collapse, Bangladesh’s largest industrial tragedy, sparking a worldwide debate on how to improve safety.

The Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord was an opportunity to rectify the unacceptable risks currently faced by Bangladeshi garment workers because of poor standards on factory safety.

Work is now beginning on the implementation phase of the Accord. The aim is to have safety inspectors on the ground as quickly as possible in order to begin to fix the most urgent problems.

Primark has signed the Accord, along with 37 other retailers, including:
Abercrombie & Fitch, Marks and Spencer, Aldi North, Aldi South, Benetton, Bonmarche, C&A, Carrefour, Charles Vögele, Comtex, El Corte Inglés, Ernstings’s Family, Esprit, Fat Face, G-star, H&M, Hema, Inditex, jbc, John Lewis, Kik, Lidl, Loblaw, Mango, Mothercare, N Brown, New Look, Next, Otto Group, Primark, PVH, s.Oliver, Stockmann, Switcher, Tchibo, Tesco, V&D, We Europe

The next steps are to ensure compensation for the dead and injured of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh. Primark has already moved to provide compensation and emergency aid, but we need to call on the other brands to pay compensation.

Dunnes Stores continues to ignore correspondence and calls from TDs and Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland to sign the Accord. Here is a link to their Facebook page – why not ask them why they haven’t signed up yet?

More Good News!

We have more campaign success to announce. In a landmark victory, Adidas has agreed to compensate 2,800 Indonesian garment workers who were owed US $1.8 million in severance pay following the closure of sportswear factory PT Kizone in Indonesia. The agreement was reached in April and comes after two years of campaigning led by Kizone workers in Indonesia and labour rights activists worldwide, including the Clean Clothes Campaign.

Keeping in Touch!

You can also keep in touch with us and find out about campaigns and the latest news on Facebook and Twitter, which are updated regularly.

Images by Paul Roeland.

A Cautious Welcome to News of Compensation Plans from Brands Implicated in Rana Plaza disaster.

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) is giving a cautious welcome to the announcements of four brands implicated in the Rana Plaza tragedy that they will pay compensation to victims of the building collapse last Wednesday. They also urge more of the 50 plus brands linked to the disaster to step forward.

While the details of the brands’ proposals have not been published, to be worthwhile, the CCC says any compensation package must cover loss of earnings for those left unemployed, immediate medical care for those injured and long term compensation for injured workers and the families of those killed in the tragedy and urges brands to enter negotiations with labour organisations on the ground before making decisions about redress.

Kate Nolan of Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland urged today ” that final compensation figures, along with agreed contributions from all stakeholders, need to be negotiated with the Bangladeshi trade unions and IndustriALL, the global trade union federation representing garment workers. It must follow standards for compensation already established following previous factory collapses and fires in Bangladesh. This includes the development of a clear and transparent mechanism for delivering short and long term compensation to the families of those killed and those injured at Rana Plaza”.

Local relief organisations are expressing grave concern about the mismanagement of databases containing information about victims and call for immediate work to start on developing a coordinated, well maintained and comprehensive database of victims. Without such,  the delivery or compensation to those who need and deserve it will prove impossible. 

Kate Nolan of CCC Ireland explains “Without  accurate records compensation cannot be distributed quickly and to the right people. A victims’ database is essential and at the moment there is chaos on the ground with hundreds missing. The injured and dead have been dispersed across a vast area and families are travelling miles to try and find loved ones. We would fear greatly that this administrative chaos will lead to long delays in compensation reaching those that need it so desperately and urge brands to have representatives on the ground helping organisations with this process”. 

The Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland briefed the Oireachtas yesterday morning on the situation in Bangladesh and the need for politicians here to do all in their power to urge brands operating in the Irish market to sign up to the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement and begin work to make the Bangladesh garment industry safe.