Living Wage

All artisans making our bags earn either the local legal minimum wage or above. Although locally this is acceptable, we want more for the artisans. A living wage can have a positive influence on the decisions workers make about health, food, family, safety, and their future, and for those reasons we believe that as a company we are obligated to work towards providing a living wage for all workers.

What is living wage?

A living wage is the wage that an artisan in a particular city or region receives for a standard working week. This is sufficient to enable the employee and his/her family to provide a decent standard of living, including nutritious food, utilities, housing, education, health care, transport, clothing and other essential needs, as well as savings for unexpected events.

2021 implementation pilot

Together with our producing partner Springfield and the Indian NGO ASK, we have started the living wage project in 2021 to increase minimum wages to a living wage. With Springfield's management, we reviewed their current wages, determined how far away they are from a living wage, and what O My Bag should pay additionally to cover the gap. This additional amount is the so-called O My Bag living wage premium. During an onsite kick-off event, the concept of living wages was explained to all workers. We told them why we as O My Bag want to do this as part of our commitment to decent jobs, and how it will impact their financial situation. The living wage premium has been transferred to Springfield and paid as a bonus to the workers just before the Puja holidays.

Stepping up our game in 2022

In 2022, we included two additional producing partners in the project, meaning that we now pay the O My Bag living wage premium to 3 factories in Kolkata. From paying a total living wage premium of €5.058 in 2021, we are now at a total of €21.126 living wage premium paid in 2022. The number of workers that have received the premium increased from 105 to 357.

Watch the videos below for more information.

An introduction to our Living Wage project.

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Workers received living wage premium in 2022

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Partner factories receive the living wage premium

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€ living wage premium paid in 2022

After Movie of EMA kick off event for living wage project

A shared responsibility

An important note to this project is that we as O My Bag alone cannot take responsibility for paying full living wage at our partner factories. We do not own the factories, and they have multiple buyers. If we would pay the full living wage amount, we would take away responsibility from those other buyers to start paying living wages as well. That is something we want to prevent. So instead we calculate what our share of the gap is, and pay that as an additional amount. By making it as easy as possible and pro-actively communicate how we do it, we hope to inspire the other buyers to take their responsibility too. At the same time we support our partner factories to have the conversation about living wages with their other buyers.

What can you do to help?

We cannot wait for voluntary measures from individual brands. The industry needs to be regulated and held accountable. You can demand for legislation by signing the petition of the Good Clothes Fair Pay campaign. The Good Clothes Fair Pay is a European Citizens’ Initiative to call on the European Commission to introduce legislation requiring that brands and retailers in the garment sector conduct specific due diligence in their supply chain to ensure workers are paid living wages. The campaign, started by amongst others Fair Wear Foundation, Fashion Revolution and Solidaridad, must collect at least 1 million signatures from EU citizens.

Living wage Kick-off Image
Image from living wage launching project