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CCC questions fashion chain H&M’s living wage claims

As H&M launched its 2014 sustainability report, pressure group Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) called on the Swedish fashion retailer to show evidence to back up the 'fair living wage' claims, the report highlights.

The clothing giant has committed to paying 850,000 textile workers a 'fair living wage' by 2018, but the latest sustainability report, contains no real figures to show progress towards this goal, CCC says.

Carin Leffler from the campaign said: “Despite announcing partnership projects with the ILO, education schemes alongside Swedish trade unions, and fair wage rhetoric aplenty, H&M has so far presented disappointingly few concrete results that show progress towards a living wage. H&M are working hard on gaining a reputation in sustainability, but the results for workers on the ground are yet to be seen.”

Athit Kong, vp of the Cambodian garment workers’ union C.CADWU commented: "H&M’s report does not accurately reflect the reality on the ground in Cambodia or Bangladesh and their PR rings hollow to workers who are struggling everyday to feed their families. A ‘sustainability’ model that is put forth and wholly controlled by H&M but is not founded in genuine respect for organized workers and trade unions on the ground is never going to result in real change for H&M production workers and only serves as a public relations façade to cover up systemic abuse.”

In the sustainability report, Karl-Johan Persson, H&M’s ceo, says that the company is “seeing positive developments on many fronts” in the living wage debate but does not give any exact figures.

“We started to test the so called Fair Wage Method, developed by the independent Fair Wage Network, in three role model factories, two in Bangladesh and one in Cambodia. These are factories where we have a five-year commitment and 100% of the capacity so we can have time to test this method and create best practice examples for our suppliers and our entire industry.

“Although it’s still early in the process, the initial results from the first factory that’s been evaluated are promising. Overtime has been reduced by over 40%, wages have increased, pay structures have improved just as the dialogue between the management and workers. At the same time productivity has also gone up,” he states.

Access H&M’s latest sustainability report here.

Picture credit: H&M

Global | Living Wage

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