Wages are a very complex issue. This is why we seek guidance from wage experts such as global trade unions, the ILO and the Fair Wage Network. They believe our role as a brand and buyer is not to set the level of wages. Rather, wages should be negotiated between the parties on the labour market. We share this view. It would be devastating if foreign companies such as H&M determined wage levels in any countries. In addition, the fact that we share suppliers with many other companies – both high-end and high street brands – makes collaboration even more important to be able to deal with this challenge. It is a shared responsibility.
We believe that everyone working in the textile industry, no matter what brand they are producing for, should earn a fair living wage. For H&M, this is indisputable and the reason why we have developed a global fair living wage strategy that I am really proud of.
As collaboration is crucial, our strategy involves not only buyers such as H&M, but also suppliers, textile workers and national governments. We also collaborate with trade unions and NGOs, making it possible to contribute to change throughout the industry. And I am happy to say that our work within wages is showing progress. For example, we signed a global framework agreement with the global trade union IndustriALL and the Swedish trade union IF Metall to further push development forward. We share the belief that a well-functioning dialogue between the parties on the labour market and the strengthening of workers’ rights to collective bargaining is necessary for lasting improvements for workers in the textile industry.
All in all, we want to contribute to a well-functioning process that enables a fair living wage in every way we can. An important part of our fair living wage strategy is the Fair Wage Method, which has been developed by the independent Fair Wage Network. It focuses on establishing good pay structures as well as strengthening the ability for workers to regularly negotiate wages fairly.