Licensing may avoid style worker exploitation, ministers told – Personnel Today



Retailers, MPs, charities and campaign groups have advised the domestic secretary to take motion on alleged worker exploitation in UK garment factories and create a licensing regime to be certain staff are covered.

Following claims that factories in Leicester that delivery giant fashion brands including Boohoo and Quiz were paying workers under the minimum salary and doing little to protect team of workers from Covid-19, a letter coordinated via the British Retail Consortium referred to “thousands more” workers may be exploited if the govt did now not take action.

“The public desire to realize that the clothes they buy have been made through body of workers who are respected, valued and covered by means of the law,” pointed out Helen Dickinson, leader executive of the British Retail Consortium.
“Recent reports in the media demonstrate the pressing want for motion before more group of workers are needlessly taken advantage of. While there is no silver bullet, licensing is a fundamental step closer to resolving this problem.”
The letter – which became signed by way of foremost agents including Asda, Next, M&S and Asos, as well as more than 50 MPs and peers, charities and investors – pointed out little had been done about tackling terrible working practices in the UK’s garment industry, in spite of the issue being raised by means of academic, marketers and MPs distinct times.
It advised home secretary Priti Patel to bring in a new statutory licensing regime for garment factories that might:
offer protection to workers from forced labour, debt bondage and mistreatment
ensure fitness and protection is covered
be sure workers are paid the national minimum salary and vacation pay, as smartly as the price of national coverage contributions and PAYE
encourage sellers to source their clothing from the UK
avoid rogue agencies from undercutting manufacturers that comply with UK employment law.
Earlier this month both Boohoo and Quiz referred to they would verify claims that group of workers in suppliers’ factories in Leicester were being paid lower than the national minimum salary – some as little as £3.50 an hour.
An investigation by Sky News alleged that as many as 10,000 americans may be operating in exploitative conditions in textile factories in the city.
Boohoo said it could paintings “to be sure that everyone working to produce apparel in Leicester is correctly remunerated, at least the national minimum salary, [and is] fairly treated and secure at work”.

It mentioned it could immediately terminate the contracts it has with any organisation “found not to be acting inside either the letter and spirit of our organization code of conduct. This comprises very clean expectancies on transparency approximately 2nd tier suppliers”.

Dr Lisa Cameron, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Textiles & Fashion, mentioned: “As we emerge from the coronavirus crisis, we have a huge opportunity to make the UK a world-leading, moral fashion and textile production industry, offering better, highly-skilled jobs.
“It is crucial the domestic secretary heavily considers the urgent desire to enforce statutory licensing of garment factory householders and managers to ensure they are ‘Fit to Trade’.

There is monstrous assist for this initiative, and we desire to go to urgent action to avoid hundreds more americans facing exploitation taking area is a few garment factories in the UK.”
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