Fashion brands still failing on safety & wage frontsOctober 2013
Despite many high street brands having signed up to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, there are still some notable exceptions. A new campaign by the Trades Union Congress in the UK, specifically references River Island, Matalan, Bench, Bank Fashion, Peacocks, Jane Norman, Republic and Mexx.
The Accord follows April’s Rana Plaza disaster in which over 1,200 people died. The leader of Bangladeshi garment workers, Amirul Haque Amin, recently visited the UK highlighting the fact that the disaster not only exposed unsafe conditions but also the poor wages of garment workers in the country.
Amin commented: “It is high time UK retail chains, and other companies sourcing from Bangladesh, matched ethical claims with action to lift their suppliers’ workers out of poverty.”
His words coincided with the publication of a new report from charity War on Want.
The report features living wage campaigns among Bangladeshi and Cambodian garment workers, migrant and local employees in Malaysia, as well as workers in Indonesia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Scotland and the US.
It says that as labour’s share of national income has declined around the world, there has been a parallel rise in the number of workers who find themselves trapped in poverty despite having a job – the so-called “working poor”.
In the Asia/Pacific region alone, over 600m working people are still forced to live below the $2 (£1.28p) a day poverty line.
In the UK, more than 6m living in poverty are in a working household, meaning that in-work poverty is now more prevalent than out-of-work poverty among people of working age.
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