New report looks at company progress towards a living wage

published 31-03-2014 09:55, last modified 31-03-2014 13:29
Tailored Wages is an in depth study of the policies and practices companies are doing - or not - to implement a living wage.

Based on a multi brand survey “Tailored Wages” found that whilst half of those surveyed included wording in their codes of conduct saying that wages should be enough to meet workers' basic needs; only four brands - Inditex, Marks & Spencers, Switcher and Tchibo - were able to show any clear steps towards implementing this – and even they have a long way to go before a living wage becomes a reality for the garment workers that produce for them.

 More action and less talk

 “Although a living wage is a human right, shockingly none of Europe’s leading 50 companies is yet paying a living wage,” said Anna McMullen, the lead author on the report. “The research showed that while more brands are aware of the living wage and recognise that it is something to be included in their codes of conduct and in CSR brochures, disappointingly for most of the brands surveyed this was as far as they went. With millions of women and men worldwide dependent on the garment industry it is vital that these words are turned into definitive actions sooner rather than later.”

The survey did find some interesting work being carried out by some brands to increase the amount paid to workers. Swiss company Switcher has set up a fund to pay an additional 1% on top of the price paid to the factory, which will go directly to the workers. Whilst other companies such as Spanish retail giant Inditex is looking at ensuring better conditions by forming agreements with global union IndustriALL. However as Ms. McMullen adds “whilst this is all innovative work it remains in the pilot stage and workers can wait no longer.”

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