Why target ASDA?

Why are we targeting ASDA?

ASDA's record on wages is woefully poor. It’s been proved, on a number of occasions, that workers in its factories are being paid very low wages.

Like many companies, it says it’s trying to change that but its efforts to do so are trailing behind many of its rivals including M&S, Primark and Tesco.

At the same time as trailing its rivals on ethics, it is aiming to overtake them in sales. ASDA has big ambitions to expand its clothing business, making it a leading player in the UK market. And worldwide, ASDA is part of Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer, so has enormous power to set a trend in the clothing industry to pay a living wage – a simple change that would lift thousands of women workers out of poverty.

Should I stop shopping at ASDA?

ActionAid isn't calling for a boycott as that could do greater harm to the women who make ASDA clothes. Instead we’d like ASDA shoppers to use their consumer power to demand ASDA makes fashion fair by taking part in our 2p action or sending a message to ASDA online.

What is a living wage?

A living wage should be enough for a worker to pay for food for her family and cover their housing, education and health needs.

It's currently estimated that Asian garment workers earn about half of what they need to do this - and paying the legal minimum wage certainly isn't enough:.

Minimum wage against living wage in Asia

Is it realistic for companies like ASDA to pay a iving wage?

It would only cost ASDA 2p on a £4 t-shirt to pay the worker who made it a living wage. That’s a tiny amount, especially when you compare it to ASDA's profits – its parent company makes £45m every day.

t-shirt

Are any shops better than ASDA?

On this issue (garment-worker wages) ASDA is currently trailing behind its rivals. M&S, for example, has promised to pay all its workers in South Asia a living wage by 2015.

Is this campaign an attack on people who shop at ASDA?

Not at all. Regardless of who shops at ASDA, we think the company has a responsibility to pay its workers a living wage. And given the tiny cost to ASDA of paying a living wage, we think it should have no problem in continuing to offer value to its customers.

Will consumers pay more if ASDA pays a living wage?

ActionAid calculates that just 2p on a £4 t-shirt would be enough to bring workers' wages up to a decent level. We think consumers would be happy to pay that if it meant lifting ASDA workers out of poverty. But given ASDA makes £45m profits worldwide a day, there’s no reason why the minimal cost of a living wage should have to be paid by the consumer. ASDA can continue to offer good value to customers whilst increasing workers’ pay to living wage.

Why should we donate 2p to ASDA? It doesn’t need our money!

The 2p action is symbolic. We want to demonstrate to ASDA just how insignificant the cost of paying a living wage is.

You can't expect big companies like ASDA to change, they're only interested in profit

Companies like ASDA also care about what their customers think of them.

A number of shops and labels who gained a bad reputation for exploiting workers have since cleaned up their act and improved workers’ rights. GAP, which was targeted in the 1990s by anti-sweatshop campaigns, is now ahead of its rivals and has significantly improved conditions for its workers.

But ASDA says it’s working on this issue and that you can shop at ASDA with a clear conscience?

ASDA would like us to think it cares about its workers but the reality of what's happening in most of its factories is quite different. Workers are still being paid appallingly low wages. ASDA needs to change that before its conscience is clear.