ActionAid steps up campaign

ActionAid steps up campaign

Charity ActionAid is inserting “secret messages” into thousands of garments sold by supermarket Asda as part of a campaign to raise the wages of factory workers in developing countries.

Campaigners from the UK arm of the group are placing the messages into the pockets of garments in Asda stores throughout the country, including cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Consumers who find the messages will receive an ActionAid T-shirt and entry into a draw to win Fairtrade food and clothing, as well as being invited to write to Asda to demand better pay for workers.

ActionAid said it would run the campaign every month until the company agreed to pay more – but Asda dismissed the charity’s report as “flawed”, arguing that its conclusions were “disingenuous”.

“Experts who understand the issue know that the situation of workers in the Asian sub-continent is served best by intelligent action that improves factory conditions in a structured and sustainable way,” said a spokesperson for the retail chain.

Asda pointed to a pilot project with another NGO, GTZ, which it said had resulted in a 15% rise in wages in Bangladesh, and which it said it would roll out to all suppliers in future.

But ActionAid’s Emily Armistead accused Asda of “dragging its heels” on the issue, adding: “There’s a dark side to this company, which is the way they treat the workers who actually make the clothes they sell.”