Primark is at the centre of slave labour accusations once again! The allegations arose when a Primark customer found a label bearing the hand-stitched words: “Forced to work exhausting hours” on the inside of a dress that she purchased. Rebecca Gallagher from Swansea, Wales was shocked to discover the label.
“I was amazed when I checked for the washing instructions and spotted this label,” Gallagher told the South Wales Evening Post. “To be honest I’ve never really thought much about how the clothes are made. But this really made me think about how we get our cheap fashion. I dread to think that my summer top may be made by some exhausted person toiling away for hours in some sweatshop abroad.”
Primark has reportedly requested that Ms Gallagher turn over the dress so that they can investigate how the additional label became attached and “whether there are issues which need to be looked into.” (We think it goes without saying that yes, there ARE further issues that need to be investigated!)
It’s not the first time Primark have been on the wrong end of slave labour accusations. The company was one of the fast fashion retaillers supplied by the 2013 Rana Plaza factory that collapsed killing over 1000 workers and injuring thousands more in Bangladesh. The country is the second biggest exporter of clothes in the world but its £13billion textiles industry has been plagued by fires and accidents for years. Retailers have been under increased pressure to improve conditions for workers following several reports of violation of labour laws and reports of poor safety records. Pulling out of the country would cripple a nation so heavily reliant on its garment exports which account for a staggering 80% of total exports. Providing a fair wage and safe working conditions surely isn’t too much to ask?
According to Vogue, Priamrk issued the following statement;
“Primark’s code of conduct sets out the core principles that suppliers and factories must follow to ensure products are made in good working conditions, and that the people making them are treated decently and paid a fair wage. We inspect each factory to ensure it is meeting the code and support it by providing guidance and training when issues are identified. Primark is a member of the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI), and our code is based on the ETI base code.”
Remember before you shop from fast fashon retailers – there is a reason the clothes are cheap – someone else is paying the price, often with their lives. Don’t let the retailers get complacent, don’t let the politicians forget their promises and think before you buy!