World Day for Decent Work 2021

For a better wage in the garment industry!

The workers who made this T-shirt only earn a small percentage of the sales price. Today, on World Day for Decent Work (WDDW), the Sustainable Textile Initiative: Together for Change (STITCH) draws attention to better working conditions in the garment sector. With this t-shirt, we are raising awareness among Dutch politicians on the importance of paying a living wage to the people who make our clothes.

Only a small percentage of the price we pay for a T-shirt goes to the wages of the people who make the clothes. The legal minimum wage in most production countries is much less than a living wage. With this minimum wage, most workers cannot meet the basic needs of themselves and their families. As a result, for example, they are forced to work 90 to 100 hours per week to make ends meet.

Alexander Kohnstamm, Fair Wear’s Executive Director wears the STITCH Decent Work Day T-shirt to advocate for a living wage in the garment industry

The global COVID-19 pandemic has greatly exacerbated the already difficult situation of these workers. Due to the pandemic, 255 million workers lost their jobs, and 1.6 billion people were hit in the informal economy. Hundreds of garment factories in Vietnam and Cambodia, among other places, closed their doors.

STITCH is a partnership with a common vision: a global textile and garment industry that contributes to an equal and just society by respecting human rights in the world of work. An industry where gender equality, living wages, fair prices, and decent work become the standard for all.

Together as partners, and with the support of The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs,  we have access to all the key value chain stakeholders and actors to drive forward global industry change. From trade unions and labour rights organisations, to suppliers, employers’ associations, brands and local governments, we will work across the garment value chain.

STITCH consists of 6 partners: two labour rights organisations — CDI in Vietnam and Cividep in India; two Dutch unions — CNV Internationaal and Mondiaal FNV; and two multi stakeholder initiatives — Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) in the UK and Fair Wear in The Netherlands.