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Worker Empowerment
Is there any indication of workers' empowerment?

About the data


Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are key ‘enabling rights’. This means that when these rights are respected, workers can use them to ensure that other labour standards, including a living wage, are upheld. A living wage must always be a negotiated figure. We see worker empowerment as central to this. Unfortunately, workers face many barriers to joining or forming a trade union and bargaining collectively. Many governments restrict, undermine, obstruct or even outlaw independent trade unions. Employers often express a hostile attitude toward trade unions and frequently use a range of tactics to prevent unions from emerging, including intimidation, discrimination, dismissal, blacklisting and even physical violence. Brands need to take proactive steps to help prevent these trends and ensure practical respect for freedom of association is upheld.

Practical steps we were looking for evidence of included:
  • Clear communication of a policy to support freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining for all stakeholders
  • Training on these rights for a significant proportion of workers and management
  • Issuing the right to organise guarantee to workers and promoting the use of union access agreements with suppliers; adoption of a credible and well-used complaints mechanism
  • Work to limit the use of short-term contracts, which are often a barrier to trade-union freedom.


The campaign defines Wages and benefits paid for a standard working week shall meet at least legal or industry minimum standards and always be sufficient to meet basic needs of workers and their families and to provide some discretionary income. (See p.98 of the report)

In this report, fifty of the most influential or strategic companies retailing in Europe were approached to take part in the study. These represent a mixture of fashion, sportswear, budget and supermarket retailers, as well as luxury fashion brands. Check whether the company you would like answers to this metric has participated in the Campaign’s search and add the score the campaign has determined in relation to worker empowerment?