GOVERNMENT ACTION NEEDED – Leicester garment industry

In this article, Cicilia Brognoli exposes the letter published by Labor Behind the Label and other stakeholders to the Government, on the exploitation that affects workers in the Leicester garment industry. 

For some weeks now, the scandal regarding the poor working conditions in the Leicester garments industry has been around the nation and beyond. In the crosshairs of the scandal is Boohoo, a famous fast fashion brand based in Leicester. The accusations include unpaid wages and benefits, wage theft, furlough fraud and unsafe environments. A few days ago the Government finally announced the creation of a cross-government task force which will investigate this problematic condition.

A group of campaigners including Labor Behind the Label, a UK-based not-for-profit co-operative organisation defending worker’s rights, and other stakeholders have drafted a public letter addressed to the Government. They asked to investigate further on these unacceptable conditions that have been going on for several years now. Despite being ignored for that time, these injustices must be made public and stopped as soon as possible. Leicester is only one of the cities with similar situations: the Government is asked to investigate other high-risk places around the UK. 

It is essential to identify the causes leading to this abuse, identifiable as modern slavery. This topic doesn’t concern only the garments production and those who manage these factories, but also the sales processes. The crazy sale of huge amounts of fast-fashion garments could be a plausible cause of these unfair conditions. To reach a reasonable overview of this unfair working conditions there’s a brutally honest dialogue with everyone involved or aware of useful information. 

In the public letter entitled ‘Urgent Action Needed for Leicester Garment Workers and Recommendations for Terms of Reference of the Leicester Garment Cross-Government Task Force’ Labor Behind the Label has specified key points that the Government should follow to end the exploitation of garment workers. It also cordially, but energetically reiterated how the Government has ignored the situation for years.

Thinking about the current health emergency, violations of the guidelines imposed by the Government regarding Covid-19 are also mentioned. Inadequate wages and the potential illegal purchase by clothing retailers weigh on the working conditions of these garment workers, but it is not just a question of money. It must be remembered that it is unworthy that in 2020 there are still shortcomings regarding the health and safety policies of workers, further aggravated during this period of health crisis. The senders of the letter conclude the letter by asking for clear explanations of why the government has not taken action in the past and above all what it intends to do now that the scandal is known to all.

It’s highly hoped that workers will see their rights respected and  their valuable contribution in the fashion industry will be commendably remunerated from a moral and monetary perspective.

You can read more of Cicilia’s articles on

Image via Unsplash

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