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Oxfam releases briefing on living wage in global supply chains

vietnam garment workers

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Article
21 January 2015

C&A and N Brown Group report progress on living wage following Rana Plaza

Author: Aleix Gonzalez Busquets (C&A), Andy York (N Brown Group) & Rachel Wilshaw (Oxfam GB)

"Rana Plaza - A Catalyst For Progress On Living Wage", 8 Jan 2015

...Aleix Gonzalez Busquets of C&A and Andy York of N Brown Group explain why they, along with several other garment brands, have agreed a set of living wage principles in the wake of the recent Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh...Gonzalez Busquets [stated that]...C&A...wishes to be a catalyst to ensure workers can have...a better life...[T]he company believes that workers have to be empowered...to make decisions themselves...Reaching a fair living wage is one of the outcomes...[C&A]wants to bring about throughout the supply chain...Andy York...[said that t]he answer is simple from the N Brown Group perspective and the answer is collaboration. Getting to a solution in a complex supply chain isn't necessarily...straightforward...This responsibility shouldn't just sit with retailers...Governments also have a responsibility.

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Article
21 January 2015

ETI welcomes Oxfam briefing paper & emphasises shared responsibility for paying living wages

Author: Sabita Banerji, Ethical Trading Initiative

"Who's Responsible For Paying Living Wages?", 8 Jan 2015

Workers all over the world...are often paid...[too] little...Brands...earn large profits from their trade. But...they...are not the ones paying the workers their wages...[a]ny more than...customers...are...[G]overnments have a responsibility to set national minimum wages that are sufficient for workers and their families to live on...The Guiding Principles also say that business and government together are responsible for ensuring that when human rights are breached, workers can get redress...One of the Ethical Trading Initiative's nine Base Code clauses is that living wages are paid...ETI members have made a commitment to...the goal of living wages being paid for all workers in the supply chains...ETI very much welcomes the new living wage briefing paper from Oxfam, who is...a founder member [of ETI]...

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Article
21 January 2015

The Living Wage: A Remarkable Story of Global Progress – How Big Could It Get?

Author: Duncan Green, Oxfam GB

...Last month Oxfam published a report on 'Steps towards a Living Wage in Global Supply Chains', which provides an intriguing account of progress to date...In September 2014 following months of unrest eight brands wrote an open letter to the Cambodian government and industry association stating their readiness to factor higher wages into their pricing. In November the government raised the minimum wage by 28%...In 2011 only two of the top 100 UK companies were living wage employers; now there are 19, with 10 more in the pipeline and over 1000 accredited employers in total, including Oxfam GB...But before we go all Kumbaya about it, the report sensibly urges caution: 'Very little has changed for very few workers. To achieve a tipping point, a more systemic approach is needed.' As Jenny Holdcroft of the international union, IndustriALL says.

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Article
12 December 2014

Commentary: Oxfam on delivering a living wage in supply chains

The concept of a living wage is not something new, but with recent reports warning of the lag between wages and productivity and outlining the failures in trickle down economics, it is in the spotlight. what has been done and what more companies can do to ensure that a living wage is paid... Based on my experience as Oxfam's Ethical Trade Manager, there are THREE drivers of poverty wages... Unfair share of value in the chain... Absence of collective bargaining...Inadequate minimum wages...These factors taken together create an almost perfect recipe for growing inequality...Today, Oxfam publishes Steps towards a living wage in global supply chains...We hope that the briefing helps companies get it right on this challenging issue.

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Report
10 December 2014

Steps Towards a Living Wage in Global Supply Chains

Author: Rachel Wilshaw, Oxfam

Almost a century after the ILO Constitution recognized the need for workers to earn a living wage, the question of whether wages enable workers to meet their needs and those of their families has gained renewed momentum. Much has been written on the issue, but very little that assesses how companies are implementing it, and the outcomes. In this paper, we outline the root causes of low wages, the barriers to ensuring a living wage is paid and the compelling reasons for responsible companies to act now. We give credit for steps taken in a range of sectors, provide a framework for deeper change and signpost initiatives that are aligned with this. The aim is to help companies who source from developing countries understand and tackle the issue and see what success looks like from an Oxfam perspective.

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