Australia: Major low-cost retailer, Kmart, commits to work with global trade unions to raise wages of garment workers in its supply chains

Author: Ben Butler, the Australian, Published on: 23 January 2018

"Kmart bid to lift garment workers’ wages in global supply chain", 22 January 2018

The head of Wesfarmers’ low-price department store, Kmart, has committed the company to working with the global union movement, to boost the pay of workers in developing countries who make clothes for the group.

Ian Bailey last week hosted an industry roundtable discussion between retailers including Myer, David Jones and Cotton On, and international group ACT, which oversees an agreement between brands and the global trade union coalition IndustriALL.

Under the ACT agreement, big brands have agreed to use their purchasing power at clothing factories to push for industry-wide collective bargaining of apparel worker wages in countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Turkey and Vietnam...

Asked about the apparent contradiction in Wesfarmers encouraging unionisation, he [Ian Bailey] said that companies were now expected to play a wider role in society.

“Just to be a pure economic entity is no longer what’s expected of us. We have a role to play in the communities in which we operate..."

Bangladesh is now a key part of Kmart’s supply chain, with the company spending about $US150m ($187m) a year with apparel factories in the South Asian country, Mr Bailey said...

[also refers to Zara, Target and Inditex]

Read the full post here

Related companies: Cotton On Group David Jones Inditex Myer Target Wesfarmers Zara (part of Inditex)