'Poverty pay shames clothes stores'

6 December 2007 - 11:09am
Press release

Workers are still paid only 5p an hour for 80-hour weeks producing clothes for leading UK retailers Primark, Tesco and Asda in Bangladesh - a year after the charity War on Want's Fashion Victims report exposed their sweatshops. This warning came today from War on Want on the anniversary of the report's publication.

Simon McRae, War on Want senior campaigns officer, said: "It is a scandal that Primark, Tesco and Asda have failed to tackle the poor wages and conditions of Bangladeshis making their clothes. Now the UK government must step in and tackle this exploitation once and for all."

Khorshed Alam, a researcher who interviewed employees for the Fashion Victims report, said: "I have kept in touch with workers from the Bangladeshi factories. Their pay and conditions have not improved."

Another War on Want report, Let's Clean Up Fashion - published with the campaign group Labour Behind the Label - calculated the £1.2 billion dividend for Sir Philip Green, who owns UK retailer Topshop, was enough to double the salaries of Cambodia's whole garment workforce for eight years.

Today (Thursday, 6 December) activists from Britain's largest student campaign group, People and Planet, will stage demonstrations in at least 14 UK cities against Topshop exploiting fashion industry workers.

War on Want is urging Christmas shoppers to join its drive for the British government to introduce regulation that would ensure a living wage and decent conditions for workers supplying goods or services to UK companies.

Shoppers can take action on the charity's website.





  • The annual meeting of Primark's parent company, Associated British Foods, will take place at 11.00 am on Friday, 7 December at Congress Centre, 28 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS
  • Last month AB Foods announced Primark's annual operating profit rose by 20% to £200 million in the year to September. In the past 18 months Primark grew business square footage by over 70%, opening 32 new stores, including its London flagship, and its biggest shop, in Liverpool, which took nearly half a million pounds on the first day. In October analysts estimated that this year Primark will overtake Asda as the UK's most popular value clothing retailer, with Tesco in third place. The forecast appeared in the UK Value Clothing Retailers 2007 Report.
  • Fashion Victims can be downloaded from here
  • Let's Clean Up Fashion can be downloaded from here


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


A Living Wage for Workers

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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