Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about the campaign, if you would like to know anything else then please contact us.
Why run this campaign? What is the issue?
Globally, the average garment industry worker can expect to earn an estimated 5% of the final selling price. The Clean Clothes company has done several price breakdowns- one shows that for an average pair of trainers sold for £60, the retailer gets 50%, brand name 35%, transport costs are around 5%, the factory is paid 12% and the worker only received 0.4%- that’s just £0.24. There are millions of people globally- including in Eastern Europe and the UK, who are earning poverty wages below the country’s minimum wage level. In addition, often the minimum wage is not enough to support a family anyway- in Mexico, the legal minimum wage is only 25% of a family of four needs to live on.
What do you the hope the petition will achieve?
We hope to see River Island start to implement these changes and enable workers unions to be set up across the factories they use, which will make a real difference to individual people.
Will this petition actually work?
Retailers only survive because of their customers- that’s us lot! This gives us as consumers a huge amount of power, so the more people that sign the petition, the more powerful the petition becomes. Petitions are a valuable campaigning tool- and they do work!
What are workers unions?
Workers unions are set up within factories and give a voice to the workers. They enable workers’ issues and problems to be heard. It is widely recognised that empowering the workforce can be a huge tool in improving issues such as wages, working hours, factory conditions, etc.
Why River Island?
River Island are a leading UK retailer, with over 260 stores across the UK. They have been fairly quiet compared to some competitors on ethical issues so far.
Do River Island own their own factories?
Most retailers, including River Island, do not own the factories they use, and often share with other retailers. However the retailers have a significant amount of power over what happens in these factories, because often the factories rely on the business River Island and other retailers bring.
Who are Tearfund?
Tearfund are a charity who work with people in poverty across the globe delivering aid, and carrying out development work. They believe in the power of the local church, and are passionate about living out God’s kingdom values of love, hope and transformation.
What is Emerging Influencers?
Tearfunds Rhythms team, who work with youth and students, invited a group of students from across the country to partner with them this year. The Emerging Influencers program gives these students the opportunity to run their own campaign with the backing, support and resources from Tearfund, as well as offering a whole bunch of teaching!