For over 30 years, the Clean Clothes Campaign has built up a network of global solidarity. From spontaneous street actions in the Netherlands to support striking women at a Triumph factory in Thailand, to a truly global network with a diverse but united strategy.
In the video here, you'll see some short impressions of our first 20 years, as we grew from the original spontaneous actions to an international network.
- Over the past five years the CCC Network has succeeded in bringing about significant change with lasting impacts on the lives of garment and sportswear workers worldwide. As a Network, we have used our collective power to campaign on vital issues including worker safety and health, freedom of association, transparency, living wage, the need for binding regulation of corporate accountability, and the fight against shrinking civic space, among others.
- In helping to shape a safer global garment and sportswear industry, we have made landmark gains including: securing compensation payments for survivors and victims’ families of the Rana Plaza and Ali Enterprises factory disasters; the renewal of the Bangladesh Accord and the extension of the complaints mechanism to protect workers and trade unionists against employer retaliation. Plans for a Pakistani agreement similar to the Accord will hopefully launch in 2021. We also developed safety toolkits and training with a particular focus on empowering women workers and combating gender-based violence.
- Our achievements continue. Our work has pushed for concrete corporate action to protect human rights, highlighting corporate greenwashing and significantly contributing to public awareness of the issues. We have lobbied and advocated for binding regulations on corporate accountability, including calling on the European Commission to introduce legislation. Our research-based reports and publications have exposed the severe failings of the multi-billion dollar social auditing industry, shone a spotlight on poverty wages, in Asia and Europe, and challenged H&M to keep its promise to pay a living wage to all workers in their supply chain. We have pushed for supply chain transparency, resulting in many global brands committing to our Transparency Pledge and many more publishing details of their suppliers.
- We have supported minimum wage struggles and campaigned on Urgent Appeal cases to combat trade union repression and worker harassment, including cases concerning wrongful imprisonment, we have supported human rights defenders under threat and fought against shrinking civic space. Our continued collective efforts concerning the brutal crackdown on peaceful protests from workers in Cambodia, China, Turkey, Myanmar, Thailand and Bangladesh saw many workers released from prison and criminal charges implicating thousands of workers dropped.
- As a network, we implemented the Network Model we agreed upon five years ago, moving from a European centered coalition working with partners in producing countries to a Global Network of 237 organisations and expert individuals in 44 countries, with multiple regional coalitions: South Asia, South East Asia, East Asia and Europe which includes with the subgroup of the European Production Focused Group (EPFG). Working International Groups (WIGs) were established and ensure cross-regional strategising and collaboration. The WIGs and the Regional Coalitions are now the key decision making entities within our network.
- We have further developed and built the concept of ‘enforceable brand agreements’ as a concrete means for trade unions to bargain for living wages and on other topics with both their direct employers and the brands and retailers who are controlling the supply chain and where most of the profits go. We have made sure that trade unions at the grassroots level are involved in these discussions, and have learned from and exchanged experiences about such agreements.
- We have been successful in fighting for workers who did not get their rights respected when fired, and made them stronger and more optimistic when trying to obtain these rights. We took action when COVID-19 hit workers and our organisations, and supported those affected through the Pay Your Workers campaign, and through the emergency fund set up to support workers in need.
- Our notable achievements, of which those mentioned above are only a few examples, are due to the combined potency of our collaborative action. Our work is ongoing, the industry is not fixed, more can and must be done. Going forward, we face some new challenges. The world is different to how it was in 2015. Climate change is fast reaching a tipping point of no return, which will impact significantly upon workers in garment-producing countries, and the COVID-19 pandemic, of which we are still in the midst, has dramatically worsened the situation for many garment and sportswear workers. The pandemic has exposed the levels of ongoing exploitation and the brutal inequalities that underpin the industry, and we have yet to know the after-effects or what the post-pandemic world looks like. The CCC Network collectively developed its strategy for 2021-2026, and this new Global Strategic Framework (GSF) was in January 2021. We are confident that with this GSF as our roadmap for change, we are prepared as a Network to face those challenges. It will herald greater change, a push towards industry-wide transparency and mandatory human rights due diligence, ushering in an era of corporate accountability. Together, we will forge our path onwards, towards a just and sustainable global garment and sportswear industries.
For a photographic impression, see this PDF file.