Failure to guarantee a living wage is persistent problem for global apparel industry, says report

Author: The Circle, Published on: 7 May 2017

"Fashion focus: the fundamental right to a living wage," May 2017

The issue of labour rights, and more specifically failure to ensure that employers pay no less than a living wage remains a stubborn and persistent problem for the global fashion industry... [F]ailure to guarantee a living wage has resulted in millions of workers being condemned to work only to survive, without sufficient income to pay for a basic, decent life... Efforts to prevent labour exploitation have tended to focus on non-binding measures... implemented and monitored by the retail companies that control the supply chain, and normally developed in response to negative publicity generated by investigations carried out by NGOs or the media... This strategy is not working.

... [This] report sets out the legal basis for a living wage being recognised as a fundamental human right and describes the duties of actors along the supply chain to fulfil and uphold that right... [Fourteen] country reports provide a summary of the current law on wages, benefits, social security... look at wage setting mechanisms and the legal mechanisms available to workers to enforce the legal obligations of the state... This report does not accept the argument by companies that it is not practically possible for them to ensure that a living wage is paid. Paying the legal minimum wage cannot be a legitimate excuse for failure to ensure that such a wage is at least arguably a “living wage”.

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Related companies: adidas Associated British Foods C&A Dolce & Gabbana Gap Gerry Weber Giorgio Armani H&M Inditex Marks & Spencer Primark (part of Associated British Foods)