Reports allege poor working conditions in shoe supply chains in Eastern Europe; company responses included

credit:  Davide del Giudice, Change Your Shoes campaign

The recently released reports by the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), “Labour on a Shoestring” and “Trampling Workers Rights Underfoot”, as well as the initiative “Change your Shoes” demonstrate the responsibility for respecting human rights for shoe brands and their suppliers.  

The reports found widespread denial of labour rights, including a living wage.  For example interviews with 179 shoe workers from factories in 6 countries - Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia - found that most are not paid minimum wages.

Through the use of questions provided by the reports' authors to Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, we reached out to a total of 28 firms mentioned in the reports. The companies were asked for information regarding their efforts and work in the area of sustainability and social responsibility, precisely on sourcing policies with regard to Eastern Europe: 

1) Does your company source from Eastern Europe? If yes, from which countries and what are the shares?

2) How does your company assess the wage levels and make sure that the amount it pays is enough for a decent wage?

3) What wages does your company pay at its 5 top suppliers? Please, specify countries.

4) What wages does your company pay at factories in Eastern Europe, including Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia?

5) How does your company make sure that the piece rate system is not leading to abuses such as unpaid overtime, hurdles to use PPEs?

6) How does the company make sure that PPE is provided? Is your company aware of the issues described in "Labour on a shoestring" report, such as hot/cold temperatures, fainting, etc.? If yes, what does the company do about it?

The companies' responses and non-responses are provided below. 

Responses from 14 companies: Adidas, Bata, Birkenstock, Clarks,  Deichmann, ECCO, Eurosko, Geox Mango, Manor, Migros, LederundSchuh, Lowa, Nilson

Non-responses from 14 companies: Ferragamo, Tods, Vögele, Ara, Bally, Gabor, El Naturalista, Prada, Navyboot, Pasito-Fricker, Rieker, Wojas, CCC, Camper

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All components of this story

Company non-response
19 July 2016

Navyboot did not response

Author: Navyboot

Article
19 July 2016

Pasito-Fricker did not respond

Author: Pasito-Fricker

Company non-response
19 July 2016

Prada did not respond

Author: Prada

Company non-response
19 July 2016

Rieker did not respond

Author: Rieker

Company non-response
19 July 2016

Tods did not respond

Author: Tods

Report
19 July 2016

Trampling workers rights underfoot

Author: Julia Spetzler, Change Your shoes Campaign

Change Your Shoes initiated this shoe company assessment to get a snapshot of where the shoe industry stands in regard to social sustainability and to provide a resource for consumers on which brands are doing more and which are doing less to combat problems occuring throughout the global supply chain concerning workers´ rights. Therefore, 28 companies with an influential presence on high streets across Europe have been assessed. More than 24 billion pairs of shoes were produced in 2014,1 which perfectly represents the dynamic global market where fast fashion dictates consumption trends in Europe and in every emerging country where affluence is consistently growing. Labour-intensive processes, combined with time and price pressures, have an impact on working conditions and workers’ lives, no matter where they are based. Global dynamics of the sector have an impact also on working conditions within Europe, where decades of the global race to the bottom have reduced wages among low-income as well as high-income economies. This is generating an important phenomena of relocation back to Europe. As campaigners advocating for labour and human rights, we are deeply concerned about the working conditions of workers producing our shoes, wherever they live. It’s time for change, it’s time to change the way our shoes are produced.

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Company non-response
19 July 2016

Vögele did not respond

Author: Vögele

Company non-response
19 July 2016

Wojas did not respond

Author: Wojas

Company response
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14 July 2016

Antwort Migros

Author: Migros

Migros führt ein sehr limitiertes Schuhsortiment und ist in erster Linie ein Detailhändler und kein Schuhhändler. Nichtsdestotrotz ist sich Migros der Risiken in der Schuh-Lieferkette bewusst und übernimmt Verantwortung. Die Einhaltung der Menschen- und Arbeitsrechte wird risikobasiert auf der letzten Verarbeitungsstufe und punktuell in den Vorstufen mittels dem unabhängigen Standard BSCI sichergestellt. Die Audits dienen der Bestandsaufnahme der Situation. Die Auswertung der Audits sowie follow-up Aktivitäten (z.B. Capacity Building) erfolgen durch Migros-Spezialisten.

Migros unterstützt das Anliegen einer gerechten Entlohnung, die ausreicht, um ArbeiterInnen und ihren Familien ein menschenwürdiges Leben zu ermöglichen. Migros verlangt die Einhaltung der Kernarbeitsnormen der internationalen Arbeitsorganisation (ILO). Dazu gehört die Einhaltung der Mindestlöhne. Die Festlegung der Löhne liegt in erster Linie an den lokalen Behörden. Migros prüft zur Zeit im Rahmen eines Projekts mögliche Optionen zum Thema Existenzlohn.

Migros hat im letzten Herbst trotz der geringen Bedeutung des Schuhsortiments an der Umfrage der Erklärung von Bern teilgenommen und ist auf die untenstehenden Fragen eingegangen. Die wichtigsten Informationen finden Sie deshalb in den bestehenden Berichten. Weitere Informationen zu unseren Nachhaltigkeitsanstrengungen finden Sie unter folgenden Links:

·         http://generation-m.migros.ch/generation-m/de/nachhaltigkeit-bei-der-migros.html

·         http://generation-m.migros.ch/generation-m/de/nachhaltigkeit-bei-der-migros/unsere-versprechen/versprechen-filter/versprechen-konsum/arbeitsbedingungen.html

Company response
5 July 2016

response by Nilson

Author: Nilson

...NilsonGroup values this type of investigations, it increases the knowledge about human rights and makes the development within this area go in the right direction. We will take part of the comments said about us and include them in our future work on sustainability.

Below you will find replies to the questions asked to NilsonGroup by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. All statistics are based on the purchases made for 2016, for NilsonGroup private labelled footwear....

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