Latest news on ethical and eco friendly living in the United Kingdom

published twice a week

 

Clothes, shoes and accessories

Prinmark Protest 2nd May 01.05.09

Campaigners will protest on Saturday (2 May) at British fashion retailer Primark’s huge new two-floor store in London over poverty wages for garment workers. Activists, including teenagers, from the fair trade fashion company People Tree and anti-poverty charity War on Want will hand out leaflets to shoppers, calling for a living wage and an end to the exploitation of garment workers making clothes for Primark.

And they will demand British government regulation to stop the retailer abusing its suppliers.

The protestors will also hand in a letter for Primark’s new ethical trading director, Katherine Kirk, at the south London store in Tooting.

Primark today switched the store launch to tomorrow (Friday, 1 May) after campaigners told the retailer they would protest on the scheduled opening day, Saturday.

Activists, including teenagers, from the fair trade fashion company People Tree and anti-poverty charity War on Want will hand out leaflets to shoppers, calling for a living wage and an end to the exploitation of garment workers making clothes for Primark.

And they will demand British government regulation to stop the retailer abusing its suppliers.

The protestors will also hand in a letter for Primark’s new ethical trading director, Katherine Kirk, at the south London store in Tooting.

Primark has moved to the former Marks and Spencer branch from a single-floor local shop.

Last week Primark’s parent company, Associated British Foods, announced a 10 per cent rise in profits to £122 million for the retailer during the last six months, after £233 million profits during the 12 months ending in September.

The protestors will cite Primark’s code of conduct which says living wages are paid, working hours are not excessive, no harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed and freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected.

In December the charity’s research, Fashion Victims II, cited workers producing clothes for Primark in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka earning as little as 7p an hour for up to 80-hour weeks.

Some employees received only the minimum wage, £13.97 (1663 taka) a month, far less than the £44.82 (5333 taka) needed for nutritious food, clean water, shelter, clothes, education, health care and transport.

The average workers’ pay, £19.16 (2280 taka) a month, represented less than half a living wage.

Amid food and fuel inflation, employees’ living standards had fallen since they were interviewed two years earlier.

The vast majority of employees lived in small, crowded shacks, many of which lack plumbing and adequate washing facilities.

Though forced overtime is illegal in Bangladesh, employees said they were made to toil extra hours, often unpaid.

Workers complained that in the fast fashion rush to produce the latest styles, many of them suffered verbal and physical abuse as they struggled to meet unrealistic targets. Yet the Dhaka workers said none of their factories was unionised.

Safia Minney, chief executive officer of People Tree and founder of World Fair Trade Day, who lives in Beaches Road, Tooting, said: "Despite Primark’s huge increase in profits, workers’ living conditions are worse than two years ago and they are having to deal with a huge increase in food costs. Fast, cheap fashion has flooded the UK high street. But garment workers are unable to fill their stomachs, however many bags of fast fashion we buy. That’s the true cost of fast fashion. Consumers can be part of the solution in supporting better practice and fair trade fashion."

Simon McRae, senior campaigns officer at War on Want, said: "Primark is raking in profits and expanding with new stores like Tooting by selling clothes which are so cheap because the people who produce them earn so little. The retailer has failed for years to match its claim to pay a living wage with real action. Now the British government must bring in effective regulation to halt this abuse."

When? 9.00-10.00 am BST, Saturday 2 May 2009

What? Protest over workers paid as little as 7p an hour to make Primark clothes

Where? Primark, 31 Mitcham Road, London SW17 9PA (opposite Tooting Broadway tube station)

War on Want

Peter Shield

Bookmark and Share

Related links

War on Want

Comment on this article

Related articles

Related product news categories

 

 

 

 

Subscribe to other Natural Choices Media newsletters

 
   

about us - advertise - contact the editor - terms and conditions - privacy policy


developed by Archetype IT: création de site internet, Narbonne
© Natural Choices Media SARL 2006-2010 All rights reserved