News article

H&M fair living wage strategy update

Our work to improve the working conditions for the people making H&M products at our suppliers continues with good progress. The work is at the top of our agenda and we stay true to our collaborative approach and methodical way of working, making it possible to take important steps forward.

17 May, 2017

So, what is our work about? And what happened during 2016? Firstly, it’s about creating a good dialogue between the employers and the employees at the factories and on the labour market in the countries where our products are made. This is fundamental to be able to improve working conditions, including wages. One of our goal is to make sure that factory employees are represented by trade unions that can negotiate collectively. We offer trainings to the factories on workplace cooperation, negotiation skills, collective bargaining and labour law.

  • 290 factories are enrolled in our workplace dialogue and industrial relations programs.
  • More than 370,000 factory workers are directly covered by democratically elected worker representation through our programs.
  • The programs are run in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Ethiopia and India.
  • Our collaboration within the Global Framework Agreement – pushing the development forward –was converted to a permanent agreement.
  • H&M became an official supporter of the Global Deal partnership.
  • In 2018, the goal is to have democratically elected worker representatives in place at supplier representing 50% of our product volume.

Secondly, it’s about making sure that wage issues are negotiated and that that workers have knowledge about their wage, benefits and rights. Just as important is that the wage take the individual worker’s skills, experience, performance and responsibility into consideration.

  • Systems taking above into consideration are being implemented at an increasing number of factories; 140 until the end of 2016, and an additional 96 during 2017.
  • Factories in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, India, China, Turkey and Myanmar are participating.
  • In 2018, the goal is to have improved wage management systems in place at suppliers representing 50% of our product volume.

Thirdly, since we are dealing with industry-wide challenges and we want change to happen in the entire fashion industry, we focus on close collaborations. Also important since we share suppliers with many other brands and since the factory employees get the same wage regardless of which brand she/he saw garments for.

  • We have collaboration projects together with partners such as Sida, the ILO and IF Metall to train management and workers on for example workplace cooperation and dispute resolution.
  • The work within ACT continues, aiming for improved wages in the textile industry by promoting collective bargaining, where H&M is one of 17 brands working together with IndustriALL.
  • In December, H&M gathered academia, NGOs, trade unions, brands and suppliers at the Fair & Equal Lab to discuss for example fair living wages and human rights.
  • The collaboration with IndustriALL and IF Metall within the Global Framework Agreement continues.

Finally, to be able to create change within the textile industry, the national governments need to be on board. They set minimum wages and decide on labour laws and when wage revisions take place. With our size, we can have a direct dialogue with the governments in the countries where our products are made.

  • During 2016, as an example we have together with other brands had a dialogue with the Cambodian government about the new Trade Union Law, to make sure that the law fully respects ILO conventions.

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