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H&M Group's wage summit discusses fair wages

Dec '18
Courtesy: H&M
Courtesy: H&M
The textile and fashion industries were brought together by H&M Group at the Fair Living Wage Summit 2018 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The issue discussed was how to achieve fair living wages in global production markets. Ensuring that wages are fairly distributed, regularly revised and meeting workers’ needs has been a challenge in many markets.

For H&M group, the process to achieve fair living wages for workers in global supply chain had begun in Berlin in November 2013. The summit, organised five years later on December 11, 2018 was meant to bring together brands, academics, NGOs, trade unions, partners, representatives and investors to discuss and reflect on progress, challenges and the next steps.

The fashion industry is one of the main creators of jobs and opportunities for workers in emerging markets. “As an industry, we have a joint responsibility to ensure that these are fair jobs, leading to better lives for the people and communities involved,” the group says.

“Every garment worker should earn a wage that is sufficient to live on. It should satisfy the basic needs of workers and their families as well as provide some discretionary income. It should be earned under legal normal working hours and be revised annually and negotiated regularly,” it says defining a fair living wage.

“By collaborating with others who are just as committed to this crucial topic as we are, we’re convinced that our industry can take big leaps forward,” says Jenny Fagerlin, global social sustainability manager H&M group.

The Ethical Trading Institute, ETI, has conducted an independent evaluation of the first five years of the group’s work and fair living wage strategy which was presented at the summit.

“Since we are testing new ways of working, we are in a continuous dialogue with industry stakeholders and experts – both to ensure our efforts are on target and to work out how the industry should jointly address these industry-wide challenges,” it says.

The strategy has been about creating processes to make fair negotiations possible and finding collaborations on industry level that would allow the whole industry to transform. The work done at factory level goes hand in hand with support of industry solutions. (SV)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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