Asos, The Very Group and more urge government to end labour exploitation in supply chain

Pernille Akselsen

Pernille Akselsen

Marketing Communication Coordinator at Retail Insights

Home secretary, Priti Patel, received a letter with signatures from online retailers Asos, N Brown, Missguided, and The Very Group among others, where they demands greater protection for garment factory workers.

About 40 retailers, investors, and NGOs have joined more than 50 cross-party MPs and peers writing to Priti Patel, to make a better effort for protection in the apparel supply chain

This letter demands an introduction of a licensing scheme for clothing factories, which is signed by George at Asda, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Joules, Matalan, New Look, River Island, Mountain Warehouse, Next, and others.

The case started with fast-fashion retailers Boohoo and Quiz, as they were prompted to start an investigation into their supply chain operations after allegations about malpractice in factories – specifically locations in Leicester.

The main case with the joint letter is to get a license and make sure that the factories meet legal obligations for the employees and stick to the ‘Fit to Trade’ criteria. The letter is coordinated by trade group the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and was distributed on the 20 July.

The licensing scheme ‘Fit to Trade’ is similar to the already existing GLAA License which is necessary for the food industry. The scheme will ensure that the companies who need workers and supply them, follow the employment standards the law required.

The license will protect the employees from forced labor and mistreatment, and not at least ensure payment and the National Minimum Wage, VAT, PAYE, National Insurance, and holiday pay with health and safety which also helps the workers to avoid debt bondage, explain the BRC.

This will also assist to cut off the frivolous manufacturers.

The CEO of the BRC, Helen Dickinson, said “The BRC has repeatedly called on government to take action to prevent labor exploitation in the UK.”

Then Dickinson continues: “Recent reports in the media demonstrate the urgent need for action before more workers are needlessly taken advantage of. While there is no silver bullet, licensing is a critical step toward resolving this issue.”

Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Textiles & Fashion and Dr. Lisa Cameron MP, asses: “As we emerge from the coronavirus crisis, we have a huge opportunity to make the UK a world-leading, ethical fashion, and textile manufacturing industry, delivering better, highly-skilled? jobs.”

“It is crucial the home secretary seriously considers the urgent need to implement statutory licensing of garment factory owners and managers to ensure they are ‘Fit to Trade’.”

Source: Essential Retail.

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