Blog: Michelle RussellRevised wage ladder marks step toward living wage

Michelle Russell | 24 November 2014

An online tool to help apparel brands, retailers and manufacturers work towards improved wages for garment workers in global supply chains has been updated in a move that marks another step towards the eventual provision of a living wage. Launched by the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), the tool provides more information and new features to help analyse trends and move forward on improving wages in garment factories.

In Cambodia, a long-running dispute at clothing factory SL Garment over worker conditions, which resulted in the death of one person after violent clashes broke out between workers and armed forces, has finally been settled.

An agreement between union leaders at C.CAWDU and SL Garment management was signed, under which SL Garment has agreed to drop all charges against union leaders and activists, and pay US$300,000 to employees who took part in strikes last year.

Driving meaningful change towards sustainability in textiles within organisations, within the industry, and with consumers topped the agenda at the Textile Exchange Conference in Oregon. Executives from Nike were among the 360 attendees at the conference's 12th edition, at which speakers explored the familiar challenges facing the textile and apparel value chain, such as sustainable and organic agriculture, water use and conservation, and the discharge of hazardous chemicals.

Also in the US, retailers and manufacturers are being warned by analysts to expect tighter capacity and higher shipping rates to persist into 2015 as the west coast port dispute over new contracts continues. This adds to mounting concerns already voiced by retailers over the impact of worsening delays on shipments of holiday merchandise arriving at these ports.

Over in the UK, another industry event looking at prospects for the British fashion industry has homed in on the need for partnership and collaboration if the sector is to thrive once more. Industry experts suggest working together on domestic manufacturing, rebuilding sector skills and technology trends.

A similar message was given at this year's Origin Africa event in Nairobi where attendees were told greater integration and cooperation among African states is needed to boost business and investment in the continent's cotton, textiles and apparel sector.

And finally, a preliminary report released by Cotton Campaign member, the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights, has found the Uzbekistan government continued to use "systematic, mass forced labour" in this year's cotton harvest. It claims more adults had to work against their will to make up for a reduction in the number of children in the fields.

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