Workers’ rights

Many people feel that concern for the environment is intimately linked to concern for humankind, as well. Working conditions in the clothing industry are an international scandal. There are numerous reports of workers being forced to work long hours for desperately low pay, dangerous and unhealthy working conditions, female workers being sexually exploited, and attempts to form trades unions being brutally put down. Even in the UK, vulnerable people are routinely exploited in sweatshops and as homeworkers.

Buying Fairtrade is part of the answer as is reusing and reclaiming clothes.

  • Only 0.4% of the price of a US$100 Sport Shoe goes on wages for the people who make it.
  • Labour Behind the Label, the UK platform of the Clean Clothes Campaign, campaigns and provides information on these issues.
  • Buying fairtrade goods is a direct way to avoid supporting exploitation. Traidcraft includes fashion and accessories in its mail-order catalogue, and also has an online shop. Ganesha also have an online store, and sell goods bought from co-operatives and workers’ associations in India.
  • Find your nearest fair trade shops using the British Association for Fair Trade Shops database.

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