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Continental Clothing delivers a living wage project

On June 1st, 2016, Continental Clothing launched a new clothing line which they’ve labelled FAIR SHARE. This range of clothing includes a number of custom T-Shirts and hooded sweatshirts which all carry a premium price which is ring-fenced from the normal pricing escalation. The idea behind this pricing structure is that the proceeds of these items will be passed on directly to the garment workers in India to enhance their monthly wages.

Continental Clothing is one of our suppliers here at Garment Printing, they supply us with T-shirts, Hoodies and many more clothes for you to design and us to print. So we truly appreciate the amazing work that they are carrying out!

The price premium of 10p per T-Shirt and 54p per hoodie is to be passed along the value chain, from the factory through to the retailer without being marked up. This ensures that the small additional cost at the point of sale is returned to the workers in its entirety.

The first stage of the wage increase originally came into effect back in January 2016 with the aim to cover the entire workforce following the definition of the living wage:

“A living wage should be earned in a standard working week (no more than 48 hours) and allow a garment worker to be able to buy food for herself and her family, pay the rent, pay for healthcare, clothing, transportation and education, and have a small amount of savings for when something unexpected happens.”

The project is entitled FAIR SHARE and the initial scope included primary research into the earners and living conditions specific to the geographical area where a factory is located. A benchmark was also calculated for minimum earnings required to provide a decent living for a typical family within that area.

The difference between the current wages and the living wage was then converted into the additional amount that needs to be paid for each garment which is produced at the factory. The premium that has been added to the cost of each garment is documented as a separate item which provides a complete paper trail, transparency, and accountability.

In its infancy and working closely with the workers’ representatives and local stakeholders, the FAIR SHARE projected determined the monthly financial requirements of a family of four living within the Tirupur area in India. The project is calculated that instead of the government legal minimum wage of 285 INR per 8 hours shift, the workers who are paid the lowest should instead receive 466 INR for a shift in order to earn the living wage.

The FAIR SHARE project has, therefore, determined that the living wage benchmark for the area should be 14,048 per month.

The project so far only takes around 10% of the factory’s production capacity, so for now, everyone will receive an extra 650 rupees. While this isn’t a living wage yet if the project is well received in the marketplace and extended as planned, every worker within the factory will receive at least the living wage.

The long-term aim of this project is to reach the full living wage for all workers by covering 100% of the factory’s production within the scheme. This object, however, depends largely on the response from the market and the willingness of the retailers and consumers to pay the additional premium.

Continental Clothing has committed to fully support the communication and marketing of the scheme in order to achieve a high adoption rate for products carrying the premium. The company will also encourage other brands who source from the same supply chain to participate in the programme.

A review of the scheme and the impact-assessment study will be carried out within the first 12 months.

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