Dutch campaign insists H&M must deliver on 2013 living wage promise

today Nov 23, 2018
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Schone Kleren Campagne, the Dutch branch of the globally operational Clean Clothes Campaign, announced today that it joined the global campaign to remind retailer H&M on its promises to offer factory workers a fair living wage.

Photo: Archive

The campaign is a result of promises H&M made in 2013 that in 2018 about 850,000 workers would receive a fair living wage. Schone Kleren Campagne claims that “H&M promises to work hard on offering a living wage, but this is still not visible on the wage slips of workers.” In addition, Schone Kleren argues that H&M has not communicated further in any form about its 2013 promise: the organisation says that the original documents have been removed from the website and despite the profit of € 2.2 billion, H&M still does not pay a living wage to its clothing workers.

In September, Schone Kleren Campagne published a study showing that many H&M’s factory workers live below the poverty line. In the study, employees revealed that in some cases H&M does not offer them a minimum living wage, for example in Bulgaria. Bettina Musiolek, research coordinator at Schone Kleren Campagne, said in a press release: “H&M received a lot of praise for its original efforts, but failed to pay a living wage that materializes in employee portfolios”.

Earlier this month, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag replied to parliamentary questions about the Schone Kleren Campagne research. At the time, the Minister indicated that she wants to further discuss the research and the promises H&M made in 2013 with the retailer. According to Schone Kleren Campagne, this should be even more reason for H&M to take immediate action.

From 23 to 30 November, the Clean Clothes Campaign will organize global campaigns in the US, Asia and Europe, as well as an online campaign to remind H&M that it must deliver on its 2013 promise. Schone Kleren Campagne Netherlands will campaign in Utrecht on 24 November.

The petition “Turn around H&M”, which was launched after the publication of the Schone Kleren Campagne research has now been signed by more than 138,000 people. Consumers said that they find it shocking that H&M does not live up to its promise and that living wages are still not a reality for the retailer’s workers.

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