Discussing Fair Wages in China

Representatives of major brands, the Chinese Government, and the Fair Labor Association (FLA) gathered in Beijing on January 8 to discuss a new book examining wage trends at the global level. The book, Fair Wages – Strengthening Corporate Social Responsibility, sheds light on wage inequalities and unfairness facing workers around the world. It was authored by Dr. Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead, professor of corporate social responsibility at Sciences Po in Paris, who is responsible for wage practices at the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The book launch was chaired by Mr. Zhang Junfeng, Deputy Director of the Institute of International Labor and Social Security in Beijing, and brought in the perspectives of brands, suppliers, and Chinese trade unions. H&M, an FLA Participating Company, and Chengfeng, an FLA Participating Supplier, spoke about the need to support fair wages. Participants called for transparency from factories and buyers on wage expectations and costs, support from the local government, and the need to set long-term objectives in wage policies. Auret van Heerden, President and CEO of the FLA, opened the event by introducing three key concepts: responsibility, sustainability and fair wages for a fair society. These ideas were echoed throughout the day as participants discussed the way forward toward more equitable wages in factories in China.

Professor Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead highlighted some key issues, which sparked an engaging discussion between the speakers and the audience:

  • The reasons behind, and the trend of, growing wage disparity, with the gap between the rich and the poor becoming only more polarized in most economies.
  • The growing debate around the legal minimum wage – what does it mean as compared to living wage, and what is the appropriate level for minimum wage?
  • Pay systems, and the benefits of mixed payment systems rather than the typical piece-rate system employed in most factories worldwide.
  • Insufficient overtime payment and lack of transparency in reporting hours worked.

Visit www.fair-wage.org for more information, and learn more about the Fair Wage Approach.

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FLA Releases Enhanced Code of Conduct & Compliance Benchmarks

FLA Board discusses Code of Conduct enhancements

Earlier today, FLA held a live stakeholder webinar to announce its enhanced Workplace Code of Conduct and Compliance Benchmarks.  Approved by the FLA Board of Directors on June 14, the revised Code strengthens protection of workers’ rights and reflects lessons learned during implementation of the former Code over the past decade.  Enhancements include:

 

  1. Requirements to establish human resource management policies and procedures along the entire factory employment lifecycle, from recruitment and hiring to terms and conditions of employment, administration of compensation, work rules and discipline, and termination and retrenchment.
  2. A limit for regular weekly hours of work.
  3. A requirement that employers, working with the FLA, take appropriate actions that seek to progressively realize a level of compensation that meets workers’ basic needs and provides some discretionary income.
  4. Mitigation of negative impacts that the workplace has on the environment.

Please click here to review the following materials:

  • The complete 2011 Code of Conduct and Compliance Benchmarks.
  • A summary of revisions to the Code of Conduct and Compliance Benchmarks.
  • FAQs about the enhanced Code and Benchmarks.

Download today’s press release about the enhanced Code of Conduct and contact FLA staff with any questions.