Supporting Workers When Their Rights Are Violated
The urgent appeal system is one of the key pillars of the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC)'s work.
When the rights of workers at a garment factory are violated, the workers can make an urgent appeal to the CCC to assist them. Violations can include not receiving a fair wage or being unfairly dismissed at work, etc.
Workers who would like to make an urgent appeal to the CCC can do so through partner organisations of the CCC in their country or region.
After the case is taken by the CCC, we will seek to, among other things:
- Raise awareness of the worker's case internationally, such as via global petitions and campaigns, press conferences, public events and speaker tours
- Put pressure on clothing brands to act, such as via the Pay Your Workers campaign
- Lobby international groups and governments to respond
Since the CCC was launched in 1989, Clean Clothes activists have supported garment and sportswear workers in over 450 cases in 40 different countries where their rights were violated.
The Triangle Solidarity to Pressure Factories
To conduct the urgent appeal work, the CCC works with other organisations to simultaneously put pressure on all those responsible for improving workplace conditions. This often results in a "triangle solidarity" strategy for action: campaigning in the producing country where violations occur, in as many countries as possible where the clothing is sold, and also in the home country of the factory owner.
Stories of the Workers We Helped
Many of the urgent appeal cases that have been successes for workers locally have also set precedents that have a significant spill-over effect towards improvements on a larger scale: victories gave inspiration to workers facing similar issues in other workplaces. Below, we highlight some of the successes we achieved together with other organisations:
- Following the collapse of the Rana Plaza in 2013, which killed 1,134 workers in Bangladesh, the International Accord for Health and Safety was established in the garment industry in Bangladesh, as a legally binding agreement to recognise the rights of workers to organise and refuse unsafe work. The accord has been signed by 190 garment brands and global trade unions, and was expanded to Pakistan in 2023.
- In 2020, a group of Romanian workers at the Tanex factory were only paid half their regular monthly wage during the COVID-19 pandemic, but after CCC pressured Tanex's main buyers to respond, including Inditex and Holy Fashion, the workers were guaranteed the union access they were previously denied. In addition, the workers who were still employed received their full salaries while those who were dismissed or left were also paid the money they were owed.
- In 2021, 1,250 Thai workers who sewed bras fro Victoria's Secret, Lane Bryant and Torrid at the Brilliant Alliance factory were fired without their legally mandated severance, after the factory closed. After campaigning by organisations including the CCC, Brilliant Alliance's owner, Clover, agreed to pay the workers their severance pay plus interest. This was the largest Wage-Theft settlement at a garment factory.