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15 Jul 2020

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Labour Behind the Label, Oxfam, CORE Coalition, Freedom United, Ethical Consumer, ShareAction, HomeWorkers Worldwide, Dalit Solidarity Network UK, Anti-Slavery International, TUC Midlands, War on Want, The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, Traidcraft Exchange, Global Justice Now

UK: Coalition of civil society org’s address letter to gov’t outlining recommendations for tackling labour rights abuses in Leicester’s garment manufacturing sector

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"Ref: Urgent Action Needed for Leicester Garment Workers and Recommendations for Terms of Reference of the Leicester Garment Cross Government Task Force", 15 July 2020

The past decade has seen numerous reports detailing abusive working conditions in Leicester garment factories, and other factories both in the UK and internationally …. The recent report by Labour Behind the Label into alleged abuses within the garment industry in Leicester has since led to a series of further exposés…

… Action is needed both to ensure all workers in the Leicester garment industry are protected …

While we welcome the … cross government task force … it is crucial that the underlying drivers of abuse are identified … [and] long-term solutions developed.

We, the undersigned, ask the Government to take the following urgent steps.

1. Protect all workers in the Leicester garment industry and ensure that remedy … is provided to … victims of non payment or underpayment of wages and benefits (wage theft), furlough fraud, unsafe environments, and modern slavery.

2. Ensure that the cross government task force investigates the situation of workers in factories in Leicester and examines the underlying causes…

  • What are the drivers perpetuating the illegal working conditions in the garment industry in … the UK?
  • What challenges have held the government back from taking effective action when the issues have been discussed in the public domain for many years?
  •  What are the solutions, including legislation, and what are the coordinated roles needed by all relevant authorities…?

Such an investigation … must include … local and national stakeholders (including workers, community groups, unions) to ensure that their expertise … shape solutions.

The task force should report to Parliament with an interim report and a final report.