Fashion brands should act to provide living wage: AFWA

Fashion brands should take responsibility for underpaid workers in their supply chains, the Asia Floor Wage Alliance has said, ahead of the annual International Labour Organisation conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

AAP reports that the AFWA’s Anannya Bhattacharjee has said a living wage was needed, though is not provided by most Asian countries. The continent produced over six-tenths of the world’s garments.

A complex supply chain arrangement was often blamed by brands for having no control over the payment of a living wage, said Bhattacharjee, but they had the power to set prices and pay a living wage. This is defined by the ILO as a “basic human right”.

“Companies are responsible for the human rights impacts throughout their supply chain, and cannot outsource these to the state or to the suppliers,” Bhattacharjee told AAP.

“Global brands cannot wait for governments to raise the minimum wage to an acceptable level. They must pay the difference between the minimum wage and the living wage, as most of their profits comes from production in Asia.”

The ILO is the United Nations agency covering labour issues, and holds its International Labour Conference in June every year.