UK: Overseas workers “need living wage” firms told
Three organisations are calling on UK fashion businesses to ensure that workers at overseas supplier companies are given a living wage to match their UK counterparts.
The call from War on Want, Labour Behind the Label and the National Garment Workers Federation in Bangladesh came as 29 companies committed to paying their UK workers a living wage, including Arcadia, Debenhams, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Asda George and Tesco.
However, the groups said none of the 29 brands had yet ensured that workers in their supply chains received a living wage.
War on Want said it had uncovered a “systemic problem of worker exploitation” in its “Stitched Up” report, issued last year.
Meanwhile, Labour Behind the Label’s “Let’s Clean Up Fashion” reports – also supported by War on Want – claim to have exposed companies which deny their workers enough pay for decent food, housing, education and healthcare.
“It is a scandal that people in the UK do not receive a living wage and around the globe workers supplying British companies also earn poverty pay,” said War on Want international programmes officer Laia Blanch.
“It is absurd to think the working poor can escape poverty on wages that fail to meet basic needs.”
Retailer Marks & Spencer in June said it has been collaborating with competitors as part of efforts to implement a living wage in factories that supply its stores.
The UK's largest clothing retailer explained it had developed an equation for living wages, which it has begun to implement in its Bangladesh factories - although it also pointed out there is no internationally recognised living wage.
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