What we do

ACT aims to achieve living wages for workers in the global garment industry through collective bargaining at industry level – the process by which a binding agreement can be reached that covers workers and employers across an industry on a range of issues, including the payment of a living wage.

While achieving living wages through collective bargaining is feasible, it is also ambitious, requiring a transformative approach to the way that the industry operates and what it prioritises. ACT’s global footprint can be mapped against strategic building blocks designed to create the conditions necessary to successfully support the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements and secure living wages. These building blocks include, in particular, Freedom of Association and Purchasing Practices.

Collective Bargaining

Collective bargaining at industry level is the process by which a binding agreement can be reached that covers workers and employers across an industry on a range of issues, including the payment of a living wage.

Securing living wages in the garment and footwear industry requires a mechanism that can take into account the needs of both business and the worker. Business needs the opportunity to respond timely to economic changes while workers should not be living in a world of daily economic insecurity. Collective bargaining at industry level combines this dual need for flexibility and security by providing employers and workers the freedom to negotiate tailor-made solutions and ensures that commonly agreed standards become binding for everyone. 

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Freedom of Association

Freedom of Association (FOA) is the internationally recognised human right of workers to form and join organisations of their own choosing.

FOA is a prerequisite to collective bargaining and an enabler of higher wages in and of itself. Respect of FOA provides workers with the voice and representation to negotiate collectively with employers on terms and conditions of work, including wages and benefits. 

ACT member brands and IndustriALL Global Union have agreed on the following principles and framework for action:

  • Workers must be free and able to exercise their right to organize and bargain collectively in accordance with ILO Conventions.
  • A joint approach is needed where all participants in global supply chains assume their respective responsibilities in achieving freedom of association.
  • ACT members will provide capacity building, including training of managers and workers on freedom of association and collective bargaining.
  • ACT members commit to design strategies on how to proactively promote freedom of association.

ACT members are engaged in discussions about ensuring Freedom of Association. Read more about particular issues:

The power of integrated supply-chain industrial relations - Building effective Grievance Mechanisms

Purchasing Practices

Purchasing practices are the way that global retailers & brands interact and do business with the manufacturers that supply their products.

Purchasing practices encompass strategic planning, sourcing, development, purchasing (buying) and the underlying behaviours, values and principles that impact workers.

ACT member brands have committed themselves across all sourcing countries to changing purchasing practices that are impediments to progress towards living wages and good working conditions. The ACT Global Purchasing Practices Commitments are five concrete steps that ACT brands are taking to start transforming the industry.