H&M: verständnisvoll, aber ohne Selbstverpflichtung

H&M reagiert verständnisvoll auf die Forderungen der CCC und der Asia Floor Wage Campaign, entschliesst sich aber bisher dennoch nicht zu konkretem und konsequentem Handeln für die Einführung eines Existenzlohnes.

Mailreaktion von H&M auf die Protest-Botschaften Konsumierender, 10.4.2010

Hi,Thank you for signing up on the CCC Living Wage campaign.We think it is encouraging that consumer care, and makes our CSR work even more important.H&M does not have any factories of its own and therefore does not set or pay factory workers' wages. However, we require our suppliers to pay their employees the wages and overtime payments to which they are legally entitled, and check that they do so. We also monitor whether agreements between employers and employees are respected, where such agreements exist. In addition, we are working to strengthen the rights of textile workers in the long term. Our aim is that they should ultimately be able to make their own demands and influence their own situation.

We are aware that the minimum wage in some countries is too low. Obviously we believe that the minimum wage should be enough to live on. For example we are actively trying to persuade the lawmakers in Bangladesh to continuously review the level of the minimum wage there. We have earlier this year sent a letter to the Bangladesh government concerning the raise of minimum wages, as well as the implementation of the recent minimum wages raise and additionally that there should be yearly revision of minimum wage.

We would prefer the wage level to be based on negotiations between employer and employee and for the law to specify a reasonable minimum wage.

As well as demanding that our suppliers pay the salary to which the workers are entitled, we are working to improve the working conditions in our supply chain. This is a long-term project and is based on the standards laid down in our Code of Conduct.

Clean Clothes Campaign and Asian Floor Wage runs a legitimate question. However, we believe that the campaign should be directed towards the politicians and the governments since they are the ones who by law can bring about a change in the minimum wage. We do not oppose a raise of the minimum wage. We agree that the minimum wage should be possible to live on, and we also think that yearly revision of wages are important.

If you wish to learn more please read our Sustainability Report: www.hm.com/sustainability2009.
Should you have further questions, do not hesitate to contact us at sustainability@hm.com.

Kind regards
H & M Hennes & Mauritz A
Maritha Lorentzon

Dazu nimmt die Erklärung von Bern / Clean Clothes Campaign am 10.4.2010 folgendermassen Stellung:

H&M commits to pay wages and benefits according to the law. In other words: the company only commits to pay the legal minimum wage. H&M agrees that the minimum wage is too low and did send a letter to the government in Bangladesh. We appreciate this and find it an important step of the company. But: According to our research, the legal minimum wage is far too low in all production countries in Asia. It is therefore needed, that H&M does not only react in a situation of crisis as currently seen in Bangladesh or Cambodia, but does make a clear commitment to generally pay a living wage according to the Asia Floor Wage. H&M says that the company works to improve the working conditions according to its standards laid down in the code of conduct. As a first step, H&M should therefore adapt its code of conduct, commit to pay a living wage and use this benchmark as the guidance to improve the working conditions, since a decent wage is the corner stone for a decent (working) life.

The recent years have clearly shown that it is not enough to lobby the governments of the production countries. The wages have seen a sharp race to the bottom and workers earn hardly enough to pay their food, let alone other expenses as school fees, medical assistances or transportation. If we are to stop this inhumane development that drives and keeps workers and its families in poverty and hinders a real and fair development, it is needed that the global buyers step in, clearly commit to a living wage and work together with the Asia Floor Wage on the implementation of such a wage. A buyer like H&M has a big global bargaining power, and therefore also a big responsibility in the standard setting of the global garment industry. We hope to see more concrete steps of H&M in the direction of implementing a living wage.