Stockholm, Sweden, 2014-3-31 — /EPR Retail News/ — H&M was the first company to launch a roadmap for fair living wage in 2013, and we are in the forefront when it comes to how we address and work with the wage issue in our supply chain.
In the Clean Clothes Campaign’s (CCC) report “Tailored Wages” they have surveyed 50 of Europe’s leading clothing companies work on wages.
We are glad to see that H&M is one of the good examples in the report. We already today address nine of the ten steps which CCC thinks companies should to ensure a living wage. The main criticism against us is why we don´t adhere to the living wage benchmark recommended by the CCC. When reading the results of the report, it is important to remember that the report is the opinion of one campaign organization. Please see below for our comment.
The heart of our roadmap
The textile workers own perception of what a fair living wage is serves as our definition of a living wage. This approach is the heart of our fair living wage roadmap, introduced last year. For us, their voices are most important to listen to.
We believe that it is an outdated view that foreign companies should determine what a living wage is in for example Bangladesh. It is the textile workers own perception of what a fair living wage is that serves as our definition of a living wage. It is also important that the wages should be set by negotiation between the different parties of the labour market. Several knowledgeable voices such as Swedish trade union IF Metall, global unions and wage experts at International Labour Organization (ILO), are supporting the path we have chosen.
“We agree that wages should be set by negotiation. The road is long to go but the work we are doing together with H&M when it comes to developing social dialogue and industrial relations in for example Cambodia, is a step in the right direction,” says Mats Svensson, International Secretary at Swedish union IF Metall.
According to the ILO there is no universal benchmark on how to calculate a living wage, instead they raise the importance of promoting freedom of association and collective bargaining which are necessary for workers and employers to negotiate improvements in wages and conditions of work.
Strengthen the workers voices
Our role and responsibility is to help create a working environment in the factories where a skilled workforce have their wages reviewed annually and negotiated either on factory and/or sectorial and government level, involving freely elected trade union or worker representatives. Through our roadmap for a fair living wage we work to strengthen the textile workers’ own voices and industrial labor relations is therefore a big focus for us.
Right now we are testing how to best achieve a fair living wage in three model factories, one in Cambodia and two in Bangladesh. Here the wage should be set through fair negotiations where workers’ voices are heard, and also reflect the knowledge and experience of the worker. We will continuously measure the workers own perception of receiving a wage covering their basic needs as well as the actual wage development in monetary terms. The first evaluations will be ready during autumn 2014, and we will scale up the parts of the roadmap shown to be successful.
To learn more about our roadmap for a fair living wage, visit: www.hm.com/fairlivingwage
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