H&M will start supporting 3 factories, one in Cambodia and 2 in Bangladesh, from next year, so that textile workers may get a living wage. The Swedish company aims to get all of its 750 factories to pay decent wages by 2018.
Consequence is a possible price hike
H&M will insist on suppliers using the Fair Wage Method, which takes basic needs into account and then decides the wage level based on that. The wage then gets reviewed at specific moments in time. In total, 850,000 employees may get increased wages thanks to this H&M rule. "We can set goals to make sure the right pay structures are in place with our suppliers”, head of sustainability at H&M Helena Helmersson said.
H&M will also try to convince governments to increase minimum wages. “It is going to take years to get to a living wage in Bangladesh but I'm more hopeful now they have opened up to involving all the stakeholders -- the unions, the workers the suppliers and the government”, Helmersson told AFP. She has admitted that the increased wages may lead to price hikes for the customers in the long run, but nobody should worry at this point, she concluded.
The ‘Labour Behind The Label’ campaign applauds the initiative, but remains watchful of the actual results. “It is good companies commit to these promises, but we will have to see how it actually turns out, especially as the chain has not shown how high a living wage should be”, a spokesperson has told The Guardian.
(translated by Gary Peeters)