‘Clothes price rises leave workers poor'

16 September 2010 - 4:05pm
Press release

NEWS PEG: Friday, 17 September 2010 London Fashion Week opens

Hardship pay 'disgraces' London Fashion Week

Clothes retailers today come under fire over their warnings that rising costs of cotton will increase prices as campaigners signal that stores continue to exploit overseas garment workers struggling to survive on poverty pay.

The warning, from the charity War on Want, coincides with the opening of London Fashion Week.

Primark and Next predict higher clothes prices amid the rising cost of cotton due to factors such as the floods in Pakistan, one of the world's biggest cotton producers, and fears over cotton crops in rain-threatened China

War on Want pointed to its research which revealed that workers making Primark clothes in three Bangladeshi factories earned well below a living wage – as little as 7p an hour for up to 80-hour weeks.

The charity also cited its research on another Primark factory in Bangladesh where workers toil up to 84 hours a week and earn as little as £19 a month – less than half a living wage.

Last month the Observer claimed Indian workers faced hardship toiling up to 16 hours a day for 26p an hour making clothes for Next and Gap and 25p an hour producing Marks & Spencer clothes.

The Sunday Times in January cited Sri Lanka workers toiling six days a week, producing M&S and Next garments for take home basic pay of less than £50 a month.

But War on Want senior campaigns officer Simon McRae said: "Clothes retailers will continue to pile up big profits, despite hikes in cotton prices. Yet the workers making their clothes will remain trapped in dire poverty. It is high time the British government tackled this disgrace with tough regulation on the fashion industry."

CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7549 0584 or (+44) (0)7983 550728


This webpage has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this webpage are the sole responsibility of War on Want and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.


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The right to be paid a living wage is a basic entitlement of all working people the world over, whether they work in the public or private sectors, in the global South or North.

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