An undercover investigation for Dispatches (Channel 4) has revealed garment workers in Leicester earning less than half the minimum wage. The workers were working on clothing for high street brands including River Island and New Look, and internet retailers BooHoo and MissGuided. Serious fire safety risks were also identified in one of the factories.
The clothing brands response is that they were unaware their clothing was being made in these factories. If companies do not know what is happening in their supply chain here in the UK, then how can we have any confidence in their pledges to protect workers rights in their supply chains that stretch across the globe?
Moreover, the reason the workers in these factories are paid so little is that brands are demanding quick cheap clothing to meet the demands of ‘fast fashion.’ The big brands need to consider how their own practices and demands place pressure on workers, as well as getting to grips with how companies making clothes for them treat their workers.