Our work and principles

We believe change starts with collective action. The organisations in our network collaborate to develop a new strategic framework for our work every five years. This is a decentralised, nonhierarchical process. We make time to connect as people, activists and workers from across the globe to analyse the current climate of the garment and sportswear industry, celebrate our achievements so far and set concrete goals for the future. Read the 'Vision, Misson and Principles' developed for our Global Strategic Framework 2021-2026 in full here.

How we work:

In order for all people working in the global garment and sportswear industries to enjoy and exercise their labour and human rights at work and in their communities, with the ability to defend and improve the implementation of those rights, we:

  • Put pressure on companies* and governments to take responsibility to ensure that the rights of manufacturing workers in global supply chains are respected and implemented. *The term "company" refers to all companies that we hold responsible for working conditions and workers’ rights in garment and sportswear supply chains, including global garment and sportswear brands, retailers, agents, global and national manufacturers and sub-contractors;

  • Work in solidarity with organised workers in global supply chains fighting for their rights anywhere from the workplace to the global level; and take action on concrete cases of violations of the rights of workers and activists;

  • Raise awareness and mobilise people to undertake individual and collective action (linked to consumption, citizenship, work, investment or other areas of life);

  • Explore judicial mechanisms and lobby for legislation to protect workers’ rights and hold companies accountable;

  • Promote public and private procurement that ensures workers’ rights are respected in the production process;

  • Work together to develop our own network and strengthen the global alliance for workers’ rights.

Our principles:

Worker principles

  • All workers - regardless of gender, age, country of origin, legal status, employment status, location, or any other basis - have a right to decent work, including good, safe, healthy working conditions and social protection, to exercise their fundamental rights to associate freely and bargain collectively, and to earn a living wage which allows them and their families to live in dignity.

  • Workers have a right to know about their rights under national and international law and agreements. They are entitled to education and training in relation to these rights and to be informed about the supply chain they are part of.

  • Workers can and should take the lead in their own organising and empowerment. The network supports freedom of association and collective bargaining as enabling rights. Our work on cases of specific workers’ rights violations are essential to supporting worker solidarity and organising.

former union president Sis Busadee, dismissed twice for her brave activism

  • In order to achieve and maintain women workers' rights, the gender issues underlying or facilitating rights violations and all forms of gender-based violence must be addressed. The network supports and promotes the empowerment of women within their collective organisations as powerful agents of change. It advocates innovative forms of organising that accommodate the distinctive needs of women and their inclusion at all levels of membership to this end. Read more about our Gender Policy.

  • The network supports workers employed on non-standard contracts, informal workers, migrants, home-based workers and other workers facing precarious work arrangements to organise, mobilise, lobby and bargain.

  • Workers can best assess their needs and the risks they take when asserting their rights. Public campaigns and other initiatives to take action in cases of rights violations and the development of strategies to address these issues must be done in consultation with workers or their representatives.

Consumer principles

  • The public has a right to know where and how their garments and sports shoes are produced.

  • The public can and should take action to see that workers' rights are respected. However, we do not generally endorse or promote boycotts as a tool for action. In order to achieve and maintain workers' rights, the gender issues underlying or facilitating rights violations must be addressed.

Government principles

  • Governments have a duty to protect workers’ rights in their own jurisdictions. This means governments must respect, protect and regulate all forms of employment relationships in line with ILO standards to ensure all workers have access to decent work. Governments have a duty to ensure that workers have easy and effective access to remedy where these rights are infringed.

  • Governments have a duty to protect workers’ rights, to hold companies accountable for their business practices worldwide through legal and regulatory instruments and policies to ensure workers’ rights are respected, and to provide access to remedy and redress to workers in cases of violations of their rights.

  • Governments have a responsibility to protect the rights of trade unions and civil society organisations to operate freely and independently. They must prevent companies from abusing those rights, and hold them accountable in cases where such rights are not respected.

  • Public procurement policies by public authorities should ensure that workers’ rights are promoted and respected.

  • National governments and international authorities have an obligation to implement legislation and sanction any failure to do so. Binding legislation should exist that meets the standards set out in ILO conventions; They also should implement ethical procurement policies.

Company principles

  • The garment and sports shoe industries (including factory owners, agents, manufacturing companies, brand name garment corporations, retailers, and others) have a responsibility to ensure that good labour practices are the norm at all levels of the industry. Given the current structure of the industry, brand name garment companies and retailers must use their position of power to ensure good labour standards are met.

  • Brand name garment companies and retailers should adopt a code of labour practice that follows the standards outlined in the CCC model code, commit to implement these standards throughout the garment production subcontracting chain and participate in credible, transparent and participatory multi-stakeholder verification initiatives in order to develop, guide and oversee code implementation activities.

  • Brand name garment companies and retailers should actively pursue social dialogue with trade union organisations and sign international framework agreements to facilitate such dialogue.

  • Companies must be transparent about conditions in, and the structure of, their supply networks and regarding actions undertaken to uphold good labour standards.

  • Trade unions and NGOs should cooperate nationally, regionally and globally to improve conditions in the garment and sports shoe industries and facilitate worker empowerment, without resorting to protectionism. Such cooperation should be based on mutual respect for each other's different roles and methods, open and active communication, participatory consensus building and constructive criticism.