Action Update: Volume 31

Action Update: Volume 31

Find out what Labour Behind the Label have been up to in our bi-annual Action Update.

This year has been a hard year for many, not least for garment workers who have been bearing the brunt of the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis. In this issue we will be sharing what we have been doing in the past six months and how our work is supporting workers to claim their rights. This includes our work calling out boohoo and their poor practices in Leicester and the #PayYourWorkers campaign where we are asking Primark to tell us if they have paid their workers. We will also share our Black Friday action, news related to our current urgent appeals and our upcoming matched giving campaign where each donation up to £4k will be matched!

Read it here: Action Update: Volume 31

Boohoo: Pay back your workers and go transparent

Boohoo: Pay back your workers and go transparent

This campaign is now closed. We launched the campaign on Black Friday 2020-  a national day of shopping frenzy when cheap mark ups see hundreds of thousands of shoppers drawn to buy. Over 1400 of you signed a petition, calling on Boohoo to pay their workers back for their unpaid wages, and get them to publish where their factories are.

Boohoo have published a list of their UK suppliers, but not yet signed up to the Transparency Pledge. They have promised full list in September so we will let you know if this happens, and if the list meets transparency requirements. We are continuing to lobby them behind the scenes to sign the Pledge.

You can still read more about the campaign, and our demands for Boohoo below.

Boohoo’s £3.50/hr workers are owed millions in back pay

Boohoo workers are having their wages stolen from them. Workers in Leicester are owed million of pounds in back pay after years of £3.50/hr work, which has established itself as a norm in the Leicester industry. This illegal exploitation has led to mass profits for Boohoo who have used the cheap manufacturing to build their business into a multi-million-pound profit engine.

Boohoo’s profits have soared in the pandemic, despite media exposes on poor factory conditions. Profits in the first half of 2020 rose by 51%, as Boohoo made £68.1m in profits in the six months to 31 August. Meanwhile, many other high street brands saw huge losses. The question we are made to ask when faced with these figures is was this margin made on the back of illegal work and who is being made to pay? 

Boohoo must #GoTransparent

For years Boohoo have refused to say where their clothes are made yet anecdotally, we know that Boohoo source upwards of 70% of the product coming out of Leicester factories. Repeated studies have shown that clothes made in Leicester are made by workers on illegally low wages, working hugely long hours, paid through false pay slips and double records. During the pandemic, undercover investigations found furlough fraud, workers forced to come into factories even when ill, cramped and unsafe conditions, as well as £3.50/hr pay. All the while, Boohoo’s one inhouse auditor responsible for checking factory conditions was put on furlough… Boohoo must be honest about where its clothes are made and publish a supplier list without delay. This is the first step to change.

What do we want Boohoo to do?

If Boohoo is actually committed to addressing issues in its supply chain as they say, it needs to make sure that it is honest about the impact it has had on workers who have been making its clothes. Workers must be paid back in full for the wage gap between what they have been paid and the minimum wage, and boohoo must immediately publish a list of its factories to put on record the places where its clothes have been made and are being made now. 

We are calling on Boohoo to Boohoo to:
1. Commit to ensure workers who have made their clothes receive at least the minimum wage for the work they have done.
2. Halt any practices of cutting and running from suppliers unless all worker concerns and backpay issues have been first remediated
3. Give union access at all their suppliers going forwards to improve worker representation and monitoring of conditions
4. Publish their supplier list and sign the transparency pledge now, without delay.
5. Sign the wage assurance statement to show a commitment to paying your workers and improving social security going forward.


Further reading

Action Update: Volume 29

Action Update: Volume 29

Find our what Labour Behind the Label have been up to in our bi-annual Action Update.

This issue gives you an overview of our latest campaigns to hold the garment industry to account. There is information on our sweatshop-free school uniforms campaign, calling on Trutex to operate with more transparency, a look at fast fashion giant Boohoo and poverty pay, and an update on the situation in Bangladesh and the violent repression of garment workers who protested peacefully for higher wages. There is also an update on some of our urgent appeals work, including campaigning for workers who produced for Burberry and Uniqlo to be paid the wages they are owed. 

Read it here: Action Update: Volume 29

Action Update: Number 28

Action Update: Number 28

Find our what Labour Behind the Label have been up to in our bi-annual Action Update.

In this issue you will find information on Bangladeshi garment workers’ ongoing struggle for fair pay in the face of violent government repression, as well as an update on the future of the Accord and our concerns over worker safety. We share our findings on the dismal state of pay in the global garment industry with the launch of our new report: Tailored Wages UK 2019, and update you on our campaign for H&M to keep its promise and pay garment workers a living wage. This issue also takes a look at fast fashion and the environmental crisis, and contains information on how you can get involved with our campaigns and join our activist army.

Read it here: Action Update: Number 28

Primark responds on Bangladesh repression

Primark responds on Bangladesh repression

Back in May, thousands of activists signed our petition to Primark to ask what action they are taking for the hundreds of Bangladeshi workers sacked or arrested during violent protests this January. Primark have now come back with the details.


It’s good news.
Primark have suspended new orders at all the factories affected and have teams doing weekly visits to selected sites to ensure changes are made. Factories have to provide evidence on 8 points before they can start receiving new orders, including showing that charges have been dropped and compensation paid to workers affected.

You asked Primark to call on suppliers to reinstate all the workers who lost their jobs for peacefully exercising their rights. Primark say they have secured compensation for all the workers dismissed and, in a few cases, got them reinstated. We are waiting for the full figures.


M&S now need to step up
We have also been lobbying other UK brands who had suppliers involved in the repression. Next have investigated their suppliers and called on them to reinstate workers, compensate those dismissed and for charges to be dropped. Again, we want to see the final outcomes but Next is also stepping up. M&S however have only responded with generic information and little detail. You can check the progress on all brands involved in the repression using this tracker.

Thanks again for your work. Standing in solidarity with workers and calling on brands to act really does make a difference.

Is your fave brand complicit in the crackdown?

You can check what action brands have taken in response to the recent repression of workers’ rights in Bangladesh by using this tracker.