As London Fashion week ends, War on Want says UK retailers failing to ensure living wage for garment workers in their supply chains

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Article
25 February 2010

London Fashion Week retailers still exploiting workers, says charity

Author: Ekklesia

As London Fashion Week drew to a close yesterday…campaigners said that overseas garment workers are exploited to produce clothes for British high street stores. The anti-poverty charity, War on Want, has emphasised the message throughout the Week…"While…retailers celebrate their London Fashion Week show, they are shamed by people making their clothes who struggle to survive on poverty pay,” said Simon McRae, Senior Campaigns Officer at War on Want. He added, “High street retailers are failing to ensure a living wage for their overseas garment workers. [refers to French Connection, River Island (part of Lewis Trust), Marks & Spencer, Miss Selfridge, Tesco]

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Article
31 January 2010

Ugly low-pay truth of high street fashion

Author: Nicola Smith, Sunday Times [UK]

Factory workers in Sri Lanka are struggling to survive on basic wages… to produce clothes for leading British retailers... Even in the better factories supplying companies such as Marks & Spencer and Next, thousands of women work six days a week to take home a basic wage of less than £50 a month...Tony Nadaraja, chief executive of the Hirdaramani Group, a company that supplies Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Asda, said that the basic 8,000-8,500 rupees… was not a “living wage”… Workers at the Brandix Seeduwa plant, which produces M&S trousers, said their basic monthly salary… barely covered rent, food and clothes. Meeting other costs was difficult, they said, even though the factory provided… subsidised food and free medical care. [includes responses by Asda, Brandix, Marks & Spencer, Next, Tesco]

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Article
7 October 2009

[PDF] Let's Clean up Fashion 2009: The state of pay behind the UK high street

Author: Labour Behind the Label

...Since 2006, when ...first Clean Up Fashion Report was produced, the world has changed... In the last four years many of the biggest brands and retailers on the UK high street have publicly accepted that garment workers’ wages need to increase... However, few of the projects and plans developed in corporate offices in Europe or North America have had a tangible impact on the wages and lives of the men and women producing our clothes...[Ranking:] Nothing to say: Alexon, BHS, Ethel Austin, House of Fraser, Peacock Group…No Work to Speak Of: Asda/George, Clarks, Debenhams, French Connection, John Lewis, Laura Ashley, Levi Strauss & Co, Matalan, River Island, Sainsbury’s…One Cheer: Mention of work on living wages, but unconvincing so far: Arcadia Group, Aurora Fashions, Burberry, Tesco…Two Cheers: Work to increase wages, but not enough yet: Gap, Marks & Spencer, (M&S), Monsoon Accessorize, New Look, Next, Primark…The profiles in this report are based on information supplied to LBL by the companies themselves…Copies of the submissions and, where relevant, responses are available on our website or from the LBL office.

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Article
26 June 2008

Tesco ‘sweatshop shame’ fury [India]

Author: War on Want & Labour Behind the Label

Workers making clothes at a factory in India for…Tesco are toiling long hours for as little as 16p an hour – only half a living wage... Employees in the factory earn on average £38 a month, and the lowest paid receive just £30, while the Bangalore Garment and Textile Workers’ Union last year calculated a living wage as at least £52 a month. Employees complained that bosses forced them to work overtime or face the sack and they receive only half the extra hours recorded…Simon McRae, senior campaigns officer at War on Want, said: “Our new evidence again reveals how Tesco’s cheap clothing comes at the shameful price of workers’ poverty…” [includes link to full media briefing] [also refers to Primark (part of Associated British Foods)]

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