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NGO provides guidance on how apparel brands can act collectively to raise factory wages while complying with EU competition law

Garment brands can safely move forward on collectively raising wages in factories within the bounds of competition law. That is clear from a unique ´Dos and Don’ts´ document that FWF [Fair Wear Foundation] published on Tuesday. 

Calls for collaboration between brands on increasing prices at their suppliers often set off alarm bells with garment brands´ legal teams. FWF called upon the expertise of competition specialists at leading law firm Arnold & Porter to help push past this major obstacle to action on living wages.  

Arnold & Porter show that as long as garment brands take some key precautions, their efforts to raise wages collectively do not present a serious risk with regard to competition law. 

Essentially, garment brands that source from the same factory would need to collaborate to raise wages. ‘But if a living wage project involves any discussion of financial details – even if the total price paid to the factory by each brand is never mentioned – it is unlikely brands will participate’, says FWF director Erica van Doorn. ‘We hope to turn this around by clearly guiding them in what they can and can´t mention while discussing production costs.'

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23 June 2015

Competition Law Dos and Don'ts - for FWF members collaborating to pay living wages

Author: Fair Wear Foundation (FWF)

Guidance for FWF member brands that seek to push past competition law concerns and work together to make living wages a reality for garment workers. - June 2015...

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23 June 2015

Legal opinion on the application of EU competition law to the adoption of the Living Wage Standard

Author: Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP

Fair Wear Foundation (“FWF”) has requested Arnold & Porter’s opinion on the impact of EU competition law on the implementation of FWF’s living wage standard. We set out our opinion below...

Read the full post here