FWF began working in Macedonia in 2003. The garment industry is a vital part of Macedonia’s economy, but on a global scale they cover less than 1% of the global garment exports.

The textile industry in Macedonia is unfortunately still decreasing. With an unemployment rate of 25%, there is still a risk for workers accepting any kind of employment out of fear of losing their job. The general concern of stakeholders is therefore to create favourable conditions for development of the industry.

The “shadow economy” is said to make up 30% of the overall economy and the level of informal work in the clothing and shoe industry is twice as high as in the overall economy.

In competition with the labour forces in Asia, Macedonia is struggling to position itself as a stable competitor that produces high quality textiles. Fair Wear Foundation believes establishing good working conditions, high productivity levels and increasing wages can be an asset for Macedonian textile companies to strengthen their position towards the European market.

Indicators show that for Macedonia effective labour law enforcement, social dialogue and good governance cannot be taken for granted. In addition, issues concerning the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining were found during audits. In some cases there were no union or workers’ representatives, or workers were not aware of the possible benefits.

FWF has been working on wage-related projects in Macedonia since 2010, most notably the Living Wage project. In 2011, FWF, with the support of CNV Internationaal, started developing concrete tools to support the wage ladder approach to the implementation of a living wage in Macedonia. The goal of the pilot project is to examine the relationship between wages and productivity, and to identify areas where productivity increases can be used to support better wages for workers.

In 2015, FWF continued with its work on pioneering approaches to increasing wages at factories. In addition, it worked on building capacity at the factory level to encourage social dialogue. FWF used three main tools: factory-level wage-increase tools in Macedonia; a guide on Living Wage Costing; and a series of WEP trainings.

The purpose of these three tools is to share the lessons learnt throughout the course of this project and allow them to be applied to a general audience.

For questions about FWF’s work in Macedonia, please contact Hendrine Stelwagen.


  1. FWF active since: 2003
  2. Complaints handler: yes
  3. Audit teams: 1
  4. Human development rank: 81
  5. GDP per capita (PPP$): 11 708
  6. Income equality value (Gini): 44.2
  7. Population below 1.25$/day: 0.3%
  8. Child labour (5-14 years): N/A
  9. Trade union situation


Resources related to Macedonia

Macedonia Country Study 2010

Macedonia (2010)   date: 21/12/2011Read more

Macedonia Complaint Albiro May 2014

INITIAL REPORT COMPLAINT IN macedonia AT FACTORY SUPPLYING albiro date: 28/03/2014Read more


Projects in Macedonia

Workplace Education Programme

FWF members look for more than participating in auditing. FWF’s Workplace Education Programme (WEP) provides short, targeted onsite training for managers, supervisors and workers. The training aims to raise awareness about the various labour standards and effective methods for communicating about problems and resolving disputes. Managers, supervisors and workers also learn about FWF’s complaints mechanism.

Go to WEP

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FWF around the world

Most of FWF's work is focused on four priority countries: Bangladesh, China, India and Turkey. Around 80% of FWF member production comes from these four countries.

FWF is active in country

FWF member brand sources in country

Complaints in country

FWF projects in country


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