Making sure that workers are listened to and can voice their complaints requires a system. Our complaints helplines in major garment-producing countries serve exactly this purpose. Working together with our member brands, we work hard to address the complaints that the helplines bring to light.
When garment workers feel that their rights are being violated, or when others see this happen, they can file a complaint. This is done through a complaints handler. The complaints handler speaks the local language, which allows workers to comfortably and effectively voice their concerns. When a complaint is filed, we immediately inform the member brand(s) it involves and launch an investigation. If the investigation shows that the complaint is grounded — i.e. evidence was found in support of the complaint — we require our member brand to work together with the factory to fix the problem. This process usually involves factory management and worker representatives. We encourage our member brands to identify and address the root causes of the problem to ensure it does not happen again. Throughout our complaints handling process, all efforts are taken to safeguard the anonymity of the complainants. This helps to ensure workers’ trust and comfort in the system and protects them from potential retaliation.
To maintain transparency, all complaints are published on our website. This acts as a living record of what our member brands are doing to address and resolve any issues that arise at their factories. This is also used as input for brand performance checks.
Our complaints system does not replace a factory’s own internal grievance mechanism, but rather acts as a safety net when all other options fail or are not trusted by workers. It also allows our brands to have deeper insights into what is happening in their supply chains, and to deal directly with issues as and when they arise. A complaints system is one aspect of a comprehensive monitoring system that brands use to stay informed about working conditions in their supply chain.
For more information about this process, please see Fair Wear’s Complaints Procedure. If you have any questions, you can reach out to the complaints team at [email protected].