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Lack of wage guarantees under Fairtrade Textile Standard is worrisome

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) has again reiterated its criticism on the lack of solid guarantees that workers who are into making of clothes under the Fairtrade Textile Standard have received a living wage. Here it may be recalled that on June 28 this year, Fairtrade had announced that three German brands namely 3Freunde, Shirts for Life and Melawear were ready to sign up with the Fairtrade Textile Standard.

The Fairtrade Textile Standard allows an implementation period of six years for a living wage and foresees that the factory management has to sign an implementation plan with worker representatives. But the factory has no guarantee that the brands stay as prices go up. If the burden of implementing a living wage rests entirely on the supplier, Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) fears that no factory management will commit to such a plan.

Garments will be marked by the Fairtrade Textile Production Mark that is always accompanied by a statement indicating the compliance level that the company or brand has achieved for its supply chain or chains. In other words this means that garments will be marketed as 'Fairtrade' even before living wages have actually been paid to all workers. For CCC, this is unacceptable. It is misleading for consumers and allows for disproportionate marketing benefits for brands.