Regulation call as Hamnett shelves Tesco

28 September 2007 - 12:15pm
Press release

The call followed news in the fashion magazine Drapers that Hamnett plans to end the relationship with Tesco, claiming the retailer had broken promises to roll out and promote her Choose Love organic and fair trade range.

Drapers quotes Hamnett: "I was initially really excited about the tie-up because I thought we could increase demand for ethical products. But I?ve come to the conclusion that [Tesco] simply wants to appear ethical, rather than make a full commitment to the range. Choose Love is only available in 40 stores and the merchandising is practically non-existent."

Drapers revealed Hamnett's decision in the wake of weekend protests by workers over poverty pay at factories in Bangladesh that produce clothes for Tesco and other UK stores Asda, H & M and Primark.

It also comes only a fortnight after new War on Want research branded Tesco's progress towards a living wage for its garment employees as 'disappointingly slow'.

Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy earned £4.6 million in salary and share bonuses in 2007 - enough to pay the annual wages of more than 25,000 Bangladeshi garment workers who supply Tesco.

Another War on Want report last December cited staff making clothes for Tesco, Asda and Primark in Bangladesh for as little as a third of a living wage.

Earlier this month the Sunday Mirror found no change in pay and conditions for these workers.

Nasai, a 20-year-old woman earning £12.90 a month for 75-hour weeks, told the newspaper: "I have to make 80 garments an hour. We are treated like slaves. I have seen men beaten and I am scared of what will happen to me if I argue. We dare not cry in front of them. We do that when we leave at night."

Her workmate, Linton, 25, paid £14 a month for 80-hour weeks, said he was recently beaten by a supervisor for not working fast enough.

He said: "I pleaded 'I can't go any faster" and I was punched in the side of my head again and again. I still get pain above my ear. When I complained to the manager, he gave me about £11 and told me to keep quiet and visit a doctor. Because of the hours we work I have not had time to see one.?

Simon McRae, senior campaigns officer at War on Want, said: "We welcome Katherine Hamnett?s decision to end her relationship with Tesco because the company lacks real ethical commitment to improve the livelihoods of garment workers. It shows the clear need for British government regulation to stop UK firms exploiting workers who make their clothes ."


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

 

 

 

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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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