Labour Behind the Label: UK retailers making "glacial progress" towards ensuring living wage for overseas workers

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Article
12 September 2008

Fashion chains lag over living wage, says report

Author: James Meikle, Guardian [UK]

[A Labour Behind the Label report says] [h]igh street fashion brands are making "glacial progress" towards ensuring overseas workers earn a living wage...[it] exposes…alleged sweatshop conditions, particularly among suppliers in Bangladesh and India…the report's author, Martin Hearson, says garment workers in other countries including Turkey and Morocco and in eastern Europe are also not getting a living wage…No brand surveyed is paying its workers a living wage…despite some being members of the Ethical Trading Initiative…[refers to Gap, Marks & Spencer, Monsoon Accessorize, New Look, Next, Sainsbury's, Asda (part of Wal-Mart), Primark (part of Associated British Foods), Tesco, Arcadia Group, Levi Strauss, Burberry (part of GUS), French Connection, Matalan, BHS, Peacocks]

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Article
12 September 2008

[PDF] Let's Clean Up Fashion 2008

Author: Labour Behind the Label

… This is the third time that Labour Behind the Label has surveyed the state of pay behind the British fashion scene, and in three years we have seen definite progress, not only in rhetoric but in the beginnings of tangible work on the ground. The establishment of a multi-stakeholder working group at the Ethical Trading Initiative is one clear milestone…But the pace is still glacial…No brand or retailer is paying its workers a living wage, or has even put in place a systematic approach to do so. But over half the retailers that responded to our survey were able to cite specific actual or planned projects that were aimed at raising workers' wages. Here is how the high street breaks down: Nothing to say at all: Alexon, Bhs, Ethel Austin, MK One [part of Baugur], Peacocks, Stylo… No work to speak of on living wages: Burberry [part of GUS], Clarks, Debenhams, French Connection, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Laura Ashley, Levi Strauss & Co, Matalan, Mosaic Fashions, River Island [part of Lewis Trust]… Mention of work on living wages, but unconvincing so far: Sainsbury's, Asda, Primark, Arcadia, Tesco… Work to increase wages, but not enough yet: M&S, Gap, Monsoon Accessorize, New Look, Next…[for detailed company responses please contact [email protected]]

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