Independent Trade Unions

The main solution to sweatshop exploitation is a united workforce, collectively fighting for their rights in the work place. Social change does not come from the top down but the bottom up.

A trade union is a collective self-defence organisation for workers. If a workforce is organised they have the power to negotiate with their employer and set limits on their exploitation. A strong union can be a very powerful thing. That’s why some employers go to great lengths to keep them out of their factories.

The fight for a living wage, for decent working conditions, and the end of workplace abuse and harassment can only come through workers acting together to better. Collectively workers can stand up to their employers in a way that would often be either too intimidating or dangerous to do alone.

The independence of a trade union is crucial. Trade unions should be run by and for the workers themselves without interference or influence of the employer. In many factories, management create their own “yellow unions” to try and show a positive public face, but these do little to improve the conditions of the workers.

No Sweat actively supports and funds independent trade unions around the world, working in solidarity to help sweatshop workers fight for their rights and build their own power to stand up to their employers.

Find out more about the unions we work with on our Global Solidarity page

‘The right to organise with others to fight for better working conditions is a universal human right: Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.’

United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 23.4