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Retailers split on overseas worker pay

High street retailers are divided over increasing the pay of overseas workers, according to a survey by campain group Labour Behind the Label.

Labour Behind the Label has published its third Let's Clean up Fashion annual report today, which puts high street retailers into categories depending on their commitment to paying overseas factory workers a living wage.

According to the report, Monsoon, Gap, Marks & Spencer, Next and New Look have detailed projects in place to improve pay for overseas workers.

Sainsbury's, Asda, Tesco, Primark and the Arcadia Group told Labour Behind the Label that they would "do something", but the campaign group said they lacked "concrete information" as to what.

The Let's Clean Up Fashion report added that Clarks, Debenhams, French Connection, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Laura Ashley, Matalan, Mosaic Fashions and River Island admitted they had no plans to improve workers' wages.

Alexon, Bhs, Burberry, Ethel Austin, MK One, Peacocks and Stylo did not take part in the survey.

Labour Behind the Label campaign co-ordinator Martin Hearson said: "If you want to know how good a company's approach to ethical trading is, look at what it's doing about living wages. The industry here may be tightening its belt for an economic slowdown, but that's no excuse for compromise when garment workers on poverty wages are enduring double-digit inflation."

Hearson added: "Plenty within the industry acknowledge this. We're delighted to see genuine steps forward by some companies over the last year and there's now a clear split between those that recognise the problem and are taking action to fix it, and those that aren't. As that gap widens, the do-nothing brands are going to be left further and further behind."

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