As part of the Living Wage Incubator, a group of innovative FWF brands is taking action to increase wages for the workers who make their products. Where do they need to start?
1. Success factors for selecting pilot project locations
A SOLID SOURCING RELATIONSHIP
- Both the factory and the brand are committed to a long-term working relationship.
- Select a partner factory that fosters mutual trust and openness.
STRONG WORKER-MANAGEMENT DIALOGUe
- Ideally, trade unions are active and there is a history of collective bargaining.
- If trade unions are not present: are there worker committees that are elected by workers?
- At a minimum, FWF advises its brands to partner with factories where the WEP training programme has been rolled out.
SHARED COMMITMENT FROM OTHER SOURCING BRANDS
- Pilot projects will be more effective if other brands share the commitment and help cover the costs of increased wages.
2. Preparing the company
- Support from the CEO and other senior managers is critical.
- Establish a budget for the project.
- Ensure staff resources are available
3. Think about the role of other supply-chain actors
- Does your brand rely on agents to source from factories where the pilot project might be carried out?
- How are payments in your supply chain calculated and made?
4. Setting ground rules and real expectations
- Commitment to a working relationship
- Commitment to involving workers and their representatives
- The aims of the project
- General steps for rollout
For more information on starting a Living Wage project, read the FWF Explorer’s Notebook
What is a Living Wage Incubator?
Participation in the FWF Incubator means brands are committed to taking real action to raise wages, instead of just talking about it. The Incubator is designed to help brands take very practical steps to push past the roadblocks that stand in the way of implementing a living wage.
FWF is working with brands, factories and workers to answer key questions, such as ‘How much more do living wages actually cost?’ and ‘How do we ensure that wage raises actually reach workers?’ Until now, the garment industry has lacked solid answers to these questions.
Participation in the incubator does not mean brands are already paying a living wage. It means that brands are working hard towards paying living wages for the workers who make their clothes – together with Fair Wear Foundation and in close cooperation with the factories.