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World Day for Decent Work to be launched
05
Oct '09
Activists in 11 European countries are participating in events this week to support demands that retailers pay a living wage to all garment workers in their supply chains. In a week that includes the international trade union movement's World Day for Decent Work (Oct. 7th), CCC activists are pressing retail giants such as Carrefour, Tesco, Aldi and Lidl to take up a ground-breaking new proposal for an Asia Floor Wage (AFW).

“Retailers like Carrefour, Aldi and Lidl can no longer ignore the desperate conditions of workers that produce their clothes,” said Jeroen Merk of the CCC International Secretariat. “The Asia Floor Wage Alliance is uniting unions and NGOs in Asia around a common wage demand; it's a powerful response to industry practices that have kept wages at a poverty level and play off workers against each other.”

The AFW, calculated using the World Bank's Purchasing Power Parity, puts forth a wage ($475 PPP/month) that would allow workers to purchase the same set of goods and services across key garment-producing countries in Asia. The AFW campaign will be formally launched with events across Asia this week.

Throughout Europe union and NGO activists involved in Clean Clothes Campaign coalitions are holding events ranging from leafleting actions and public debates to visiting corporate headquarters and hosting film screenings to draw attention to the urgent need for a wage increase for garment workers.

Despite being an internationally-recognised human right, a living wage is a right regularly denied to workers in the garment industry. The workers, mainly women, who produce clothing for international retail chains live in severe poverty, often in substandard housing and without clean water or enough food to sustain them and their families.

“A factory can produce for a buyer with a code of conduct, be clean, and visited by auditors, but if workers' wages keep them in severe poverty, their workplace is still a sweatshop,” said Merk.

“Concrete action from retailers to move forward on the issue of a living wage is long overdue.” The CCCs in Europe and partner organisations where garments are produced are calling for an immediate commitment from retailers to take steps to implement the living wage in their garment production supply chains.

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