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Survey seen as fair pay baseline in Italian luxury fashion

Survey seen as fair pay baseline in Italian luxury fashion

MILAN (AP) — Italian luxury producers and suppliers on Wednesday received a “pretty positive” report card from the Fair Wage Network, in the first large-scale survey of pay and working conditions in the sector.

The Fair Wage Network consultancy found that nearly all workers were paid on time, and that the gross average monthly salary of 2,062 euros ($2,500) was above the minimum set for the sector — and above the living wage of 1,387 euros, which could cover basic needs.

Still, the wage was below the average monthly costs of 2,311 euros that workers reported incurring for their households, meaning that families would require two wage-earners.

“We put this in the area for improvement so there is some monitoring process at enterprise level,’’ said Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead, co-founder of the Fair Wage Network. Employees also said they wanted the ability to negotiate higher pay, including wages based on experience and performance.

The survey released Wednesday was an initiative of Italy’s fashion council, and was based on interviews with 1,100 employees in 45 companies in 14 Italian regions, reaching about 20% of employees in the sector across large, medium and micro family businesses involved in the production of apparel, footwear, leather goods and components.

Vaughan-Whitehead noted that wages are increasingly being put at the core of companies' sustainability strategies, becoming a focus even in the pandemic.

Some 70% of all luxury goods sold globally are produced in Italy, and the president of the Italian National Fashion Chamber said the survey provides a baseline “for all Italian brands and all the brands that want to produce in Italy."

“It is something to stimulate other countries to become more transparent,’’ said Carlo Capasa.