Garment workers in Asia make most of the clothing sold by European and American fashion brands of the world. Although garment is a high revenue industry that brands profit by, workers themselves are paid poverty level wages. Asia Floor Wage Alliance demands living wage for garment workers whose labour clothes billions of people across the globe.
One of AFWA’s central tenets has been to build women workers and women leaders’ power in the global garment supply chain. All of AFWA’s work – such as its woman-centred formulation of living wage, its core principles, People’s Tribunals – have always placed women workers at the centre.
AFWA believes that gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH) is corrosive to women workers’ sense of self and makes them voiceless and powerless. GBVH is a barrier to women workers’ accessing other fundamental rights such as Freedom of Association and Living Wage.
AFWA believes that prevention of GBVH is of critical importance through both personal transformation of women workers and building workers’ collective power. AFWA’s Strategy brings together lessons both from the women’s movement and the labour movement.
AFWA recognises Freedom of Association (FOA) as a central condition for the assertion and negotiation of other rights. Although it is important for employers to recognize the workers’ right to organise, without substantive conditions being established for accessing this right, recognition in itself rarely leads to unionization and collective bargaining. Garment workers who have organised over the years in numerous, courageous ways face severe repression, retaliation and discrimination.
AFWA’s position is that denial of FOA, that keeps garment workers in a state of fear, isolation and disempowerment, is endemic to the business model of fast fashion and brands’ purchasing practices. AFWA recognizes the critical importance of regulation of multinational companies, who fall outside national legal frameworks. In 2016, the AFWA played an active role in the ILO’s first tripartite discussion on the “regulation of global supply chain” at the ILC in Geneva. AFWA released three global supply chain reports based on four countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and India). It resulted in global media coverage and became part of the tripartite discussions on global supply chain at the ILC. AFWA took a delegation of Asian representatives to engage in this tripartite discussion.
Click Here to Read the Report on Precarious Work in GAP Global Supply Chain
Click Here to Read the Report on Precarious Work in Walmart Global Supply Chain