Matalan

Tweets/Sample IG comments

Click here for tweet: Hi @matalan , why have you refused to pay your garment workers’ wages since March? You are putting vulnerable workers in a more dangerous position – during a pandemic. With a gross profit of £141m last year, why place the financial burden on workers earning poverty wages?

Click here for tweet: A reminder that @matalan refused to pay their suppliers during a pandemic, knowing it would impact whether their garment workers received their wages or even have a job – Matalan why are you STILL refusing to #PayUp ?

Click here for tweet: So @matalan refused to pay their garment workers because of the pandemic, but are perfectly capable of offering discounts to their customers? It doesn’t add up! Stop using the pandemic as an excuse to avoid paying your own workers and #PayUp

Click here for the tweet: Hi @matalan What did you do to ensure workers like Rojina Begum at Ultimate Fashions Ltd were reinstated and paid their wages after the factory sacked 300 workers due to cancelled orders from brands such as yourselves? https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/jun/20/we-have-no-money-for-food-or-rent-plight-of-bangladeshi-garment-makers

Click here for the tweet: Hi @matalan , why have you failed to address the fact that 250 workers from Sepia Garment, a Matalan supplier, are owed 2 months worth of wages after the owner ran away in September? How do you expect your workers to survive unpaid during a pandemic? https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/latest-news/cambodia-250-garment-workers-protest-over-two-months-unpaid-wages-after-sepia-garment-factory-sus

Email:

Email addresses: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

Subject: Matalan and cancelled orders with suppliers during the pandemic

Email:

To whom it may concern,

I am very concerned to hear that Matalan has refused to pay its suppliers for cancelled orders since March, and would like to know why Matalan has made this decision. Your actions have meant suppliers are unable to pay their workers who, as a result, are struggling to make ends meet during this pandemic.

Furthermore, the Coronavirus page on the Matalan website provides no insight into how you are ensuring the wellbeing of your garment workers. Your failure to even mention them implies a complete disregard of their right to be protected by their employer, and indicates that nothing has been done.

I suggest you do the right thing and pay your suppliers in full for cancelled orders, to protect the workers making your clothes. Your garment workers have spent years surviving on poverty wages, with little means to save, so it makes no sense that they are the ones who must bear the financial burden of the pandemic. Your own statement online shows you had a gross profit of $141m last year, so what is stopping you from protecting your garment workers?

Kind regards,

 

The Children’s Place #PayUp materials

Tweets/IG comments:

NEW TWEETS:

For the tweet: ‘So @childrensplace told us they had mutually agreed to pay for cancelled orders with suppliers in Ethiopia, so why are their garment workers STILL suffering? (with news articles) #PayUp’ Click here

For the tweet: ‘In August it was reported garment workers supplying @childrensplace in Ethiopia were paid as little as $10 a month, and struggling to make ends meet. This article from December shows  LITTLE has changed! Can TCP explain why? #PayUp’ Click here

For the tweet: ‘Hi @childrensplace can you explain the logic behind being a billion-dollar corporation, and refusing to pay your garment workers their wages – which are minimal anyway!? Stop stealing from your own workers and #PayUp’ Click here

For the tweet: ‘Hi @childrensplace, are you okay with your garment workers skipping meals and going to work terrified of getting COVID, or are you too busy not paying for cancelled orders and stealing their wages to care?’ Click here

 

Email:

To: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

Subject: The Children’s Place and cancelled orders with suppliers during the pandemic

Dear Bradley, Adrian and Reena,

I am writing in regards to a recent article , highlighting that despite previous coverage of The Children’s Place cancelling millions of dollars worth of clothing orders from suppliers in Ethiopia and workers suffering as a result, very little has changed.

While The Children’s Place has stated on social media that they have mutually agreed to pay for cancelled orders with Ethiopian suppliers, there has been no guarantee that suppliers are being paid in full, and whether suppliers in other countries are also being paid.

What is even more distressing is the fact that The Children’s Place had a turnover of $2bn last year, and has been offering discounts to customers. There is no reason why your workers should be skipping meals and walking long distances to work because they can’t afford transport. From the outside is seems as though the brand can afford to pay its workers, it is simply choosing not to.

As a brand focused on children’s wear, I wonder if The Children’s Place has considered the children of garment workers who cannot make ends meet, because their employer – a billion dollar brand – refuses to pay them – during a pandemic.

I am asking that you confirm whether all your suppliers have been paid in full for cancelled orders, and  to clarify what you have done to ensure your workers are paid and protected during the pandemic. Many other big brands have agreed to pay for cancel orders, including Gap, H&M and Primark, so what is stopping The Children’s Place?

Kind regards,

Tweets from previous action

For the tweet ‘Hi @childrensplace I’d like to know why you are refusing to pay the MILLIONS you owe to the factories making your clothes. How do you expect your workers to be paid?’ Click here.

For the tweet ‘It has been six months of @childrensplace denying garment workers their wages, how do you expect your own workers, who were already on poverty wages, to survive during the pandemic??’ Click here

For the tweet ‘“…I sometimes skip dinner. I walk from home to work every day because the factory has stopped providing transport service and I can’t afford to pay for a bus…” PAY YOUR WORKERS @childrensplace !! (with news article) Click here

For the tweet, ‘For months, garment workers have been struggling to buy food and make ends meet, all because @childrensplace , who had a turnover of $2bn last year, refuses to pay their wages!  (with news article) Click here

For the tweet, ‘Can @childrensplace please explain how they are able to offer up to 60% discounts on their clothes for customers, but at the same time refuse to pay their own workers for months on end???’ Click here

For the tweet, ‘Hi @childrensplace can you explain why you think its ok for your billion dollar brand to stop paying garment workers in Ethiopia making the clothes you profit from? They are needlessly suffering because of you. (with news article) Click here

Peacocks’ decision to block ‘Pay Up’ comments symbolises the concerted effort by brands to silence criticisms of their supply chain

As COVID-19 spread rapidly across the world, fashion brands sought ways to cover profit losses inevitably coming their way. Their solution? Take it from those with the least power and least legal protection: their workers at the bottom of the supply chain.

The decision was therefore made by brands to cancel orders with factories, including orders that had already been completed or were in the process of being completed. The fundamental issue is that factories do not get paid for orders until they are completed and shipped, so factory owners have been unable to cover the costs of production for cancelled orders, including workers’ wages. As a result, thousands of workers have faced factory closures, unpaid wages, and mass layoffs (particularly union members).

One of the most prominent culprits in the UK was the Edinburgh Woollen Mills (EWM) group, owned by billionaire Philip Day, which is the parent company of brands including Peacocks, Austin Reed and Jaeger. According to Bangladeshi suppliers, the brand owes over £27 million , after they cancelled orders for tens of thousands of items, and demanded up to 70% discounts on millions of pounds worth of goods that had already been completed.  Mostafiz Uddin, a supplier in Bangladesh, described the actions of EWM as, “…the worst in the industry,”.

In response to their actions, 30 suppliers sent EWM a letter, accusing them of  taking “undue advantage of the Covid-19”, and warned  that the suppliers would “have no option but take the decision to place an embargo and blacklist the buyers and their agents who do not comply with our instructions.”

Considering the importance of the garment industry for Bangladesh’s economy, and its dependence on investment from multinational brands, this move from suppliers to threaten brands with blacklisting indicates the sheer devastation EWM is bringing to the industry.

“We will have no option but take the decision to place an embargo and blacklist the buyers and their agents who do not comply with our instructions, which will prevent them from conducting business with our members in the future either directly or indirectly.”

Following the devastating move from Peacocks and other brands to save their own backs at the expense of their own workers, activists around the world have responded by demanding brands ‘#PayUp’ for cancelled orders. While some brands have responded to the calls, with several agreeing to pay for cancelled orders, many have also ignored the public, and have even attempted to justify their callous decision. However, Peacocks, under EWM, have taken it a step further and are actively blocking anyone who criticises them on social media, while limiting the ability of people to comment on their Instagram posts.

The sheer inhumanity of silencing concerns for the thousands of workers going unpaid for months, with no means of supporting themselves and their families, is enraging, but also a sinister reminder of the fashion industry’s routine practice of concealing its brutal violence.

The fashion industry has a renowned reputation of masking the systematic exploitation of its workforce that we see today. This has been considerably noticable in recent years, as social justice has become a mainstream topic of conversation globally, with brands more than aware that the working conditions of their workers completely contradict any concept of justice.

In fear of losing public support, several tactics have been orchestrated to portray brands as benevolent entities with an ardent devotion to humanity, as they simultaneously intensify the exploitation of garment workers making their clothes. We have seen this in the bolstering of philanthropic ‘projects’ by brands, such as Peacocks and their celebration of NHS workers during the pandemic, who they refer to as ‘Peacocks heroes’, offering them discounts and gift cards. Money has been pumped into elaborate green-washing campaigns, utilised to promote brands by amplifying their concern for environmental issues, while completely neglecting issues of worker exploitation. This includes brands lauching clothing lines made out of organic cotton, or embarking on recycling projects. Let’s also not forget the ironic use of feminism by brands, despite brands reinforcing a patriarchical regime that ensures the continued oppression of Black and Brown women, a central tool for brands to ensure low costs via a more ‘docile’, ‘easily exploitable’ workforce.

More recently, I have had the constant displeasure of seeing brands celebrated for including South Asian women/culture in their adverts, while simultaneously witnessing the suffering of my South Asian sisters within their supply chains. Diversity and representation is yet another crucial tactic to ensure the conversation of racism in the fashion industry is limited to the boardroom and billboards, rather than the factory floor.

The Pay Up campaign is tearing down the ethical charade these brands have curated, compelling brands like Peacocks to now actively silence criticism, in a bid to preserve their public image.

When I realised I had been blocked my heart sank. This was yet another way brands were going to silence the struggle of workers, so they can keep their exploitative corporate machine running. Their actions, as vile as they are, are a mere symptom of the ongoing preservation of capitalism and systematic extraction of profit from workers of the Global South.  The exhaustive efforts and money thrown at attempts to silence criticism of the supply chain means collective action is central to our solidarity. We must speak out. Whenever and however we can.

 

Anyway, since Peacocks have blocked me, here is my public message to them:

Your attempts to silence us will not be forgotten. But it is not too late for you to do the right thing and pay your workers. You’ve blocked me on Instagram and Twitter, so you have compelled me to ask you this publicly:

What are you doing to ensure your garment workers are being paid their wages during the pandemic?

JOIN US 11 TUESDAY 4PM-8PM GMT FOR OUR CALL OF ACTION AGAINST PEACOCKS!

We will be targeting Peacocks on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and email during those four hours! Even if you are blocked, you can still call them out!

I will be taking over No Sweat’s Twitter acc, so I can directly target them so join me!

Materials you can use are  here.

#PeacocksPayUp

Sample tweets/insta comments:

  • Click here for: Hi @peacocks , can you stop blocking people asking you to pay your garment workers their wages and instead focus on actually paying your workers!?
  • Click here for: Hi @peacocks , I’d like to know why are you STILL refusing to pay your garment workers when other brands have decided they will be paying what they owe?
  • Click here for: Hi @peacocks, can you ask your billionaire owner to pay his garment workers the wages he has stolen from them please or I’ll reconsider buying from any of his brands again?
  • Click here for:  How do you expect factories to pay their workers if you’re demanding 70% discounts on orders @peacocks ? Do the humane thing and pay for cancelled orders so your workers can survive the pandemic.

Send email to EWM

  • via War on Want here

 

H&M Euro Clothing Company dismissals

(image via IndustriALL)

Please send the tweets below using the link provided and also copy and paste them onto h&m’s IG posts!

Click here for the tweet: ‘Hi @hm what was the point in you signing the global framework agreement with IndustriALL on freedom of association if your union workers at the Euro Clothing factory in India are being dismissed? What are you doing to protect them? http://www.industriall-union.org/gokaldas-exports-continues-union-busting-in-india’ 

h&m IG: https://www.instagram.com/hm

Click here for the tweet: ‘1200 of your unionised garment workers were fired from the Euro Clothing factory in India, during a pandemic. What are you doing to ensure workers are reinstated at the factory @hm?  https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/hm-garment-workers-factory-india-jobs-a9579856.html’

h&m IG: https://www.instagram.com/hm

Click here for the tweet: ‘1200 of your unionised garment workers were fired from the Euro Clothing factory in India, during a pandemic @hm . What are you doing to ensure the workers are reinstated at the factory? https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/hm-garment-workers-factory-india-jobs-a9579856.html’

h&m IG: https://www.instagram.com/hm

More info:

 

 

 

Boohoo COVID action

A harrowing report from Labour Behind the Label has exposed the dire working conditions and treatment garment workers producing clothes for Boohoo have faced during the pandemic. Just some of the shocking findings include:

  • Workers pressured to continue working during lockdown, due to continued orders.
  • Workers sick with COVID pressured to continue working, or face losing their job.
  • Workers wishing to isolate denied pay.
  • Workers forced to work in factories with no social distancing, PPE, or sanitising stations, and little attempt by Boohoo to ensure compliance with COVID guidelines.
  • Factories pressured to continue production or even increase production, to keep up with new orders.
  • Furlough fraud by factory management, denying workers their pay.

Workers have shared the disturbing treatment they’ve faced, including a pregnant worker who was told to leave work immediately and be put on statutory sick pay by doctors, but was denied any pay from the factory she worked for. This is illegal.

Garment workers are mostly from minority ethnic groups, and therefore more susceptible to abusive working conditions, due to their immigration status, English language skills, higher unemployment rates, and the government’s hostile environment policy that targets migrant workers, compelling workers to accept these conditions.

The treatment of their garment workers comes in contrast with the treatment its senior staff has received during the pandemic. Just recently, news broke out that Boohoo’s CEO, John Lyttle, is set to receive a £1.04m pay-out, while other senior executives will receive salary increases of up to 18-30%. The company itself is worth £4.6 billion, and their shares have increased by 22% under lockdown.

It is very clear that not only are Boohoo perfectly capable of paying and protecting their workers, but their whole business model is dependent on this brutal exploitation of their workers.

TAKE ACTION:

Collective action is key to supporting workers against corporate violence.

What you can do to demand Boohoo protect its workers:

Tell Boohoo to #GoTransparent with Labour Behind the Label’s petition

Tell brands incl. Boohoo to protect their workers during the COVID-19 pandemic with Labour Behind the Label’s petition

Email MPs – click here for a sample email, please adjust it to ensure it isn’t put into their junk mail 

Email Boohoo – click here for a sample email, please adjust it slightly to ensure it isn’t put into their junk mail

Tweet them – here are some sample tweets:

Click here for the tweet: Hi @boohoo , I’d like to know why your vulnerable garment workers were forced to work during lockdown, even those who were sick with COVID https://labourbehindthelabel.org/report-boohoo-covid-19-the-people-behind-the-profit/ 

Click here for the tweet: Hi @boohoo, why were you increasing orders at your factories during a pandemic, while providing no COVID protection for your workers? https://labourbehindthelabel.org/report-boohoo-covid-19-the-people-behind-the-profit/ 

Click here for the tweet: Why have your garment workers been pressured to work, despite showing COVID symptoms, and having vulnerable family members? @boohoo https://labourbehindthelabel.org/report-boohoo-covid-19-the-people-behind-the-profit/ 

Click here for the tweet: How can you show support for the NHS when you don’t even care for the wellbeing of your own workers @boohoo !? https://labourbehindthelabel.org/report-boohoo-covid-19-the-people-behind-the-profit/ 

Click here for the tweet: The irony of selling those social distancing t-shirts, while you do NOTHING to protect your own garment workers @boohoo https://labourbehindthelabel.org/report-boohoo-covid-19-the-people-behind-the-profit/ 

 

Boohoo email

To [email protected] [email protected] [email protected]

Subject: Garment workers in Leicester factories subjected to unsafe working conditions during COVID-19 pandemic (something along these lines)

To whom it may concern,

I am writing in regards to a recent report released by Labour Behind the  Label, highlighting the poor working conditions garment workers in Leicester have faced while making clothes for the Boohoo Group, during the pandemic. Harrowing findings from the report include:

  • Workers pressured to continue working during lockdown, due to continued orders.
  • Workers sick with COVID pressured to continue working, or face losing their job.
  • Workers wishing to isolate denied pay.
  • Workers forced to work in factories with no social distancing, PPE, or sanitising stations, and little attempt by Boohoo to ensure compliance with COVID guidelines.
  • Factories pressured to continue production or even increase production, to keep up with new orders.
  • Furlough fraud by factory management, denying workers their pay.

I am horrified by the fact Boohoo has done little to nothing to protect its workers, and has willingly exacerbated health risks by increasing orders to factories during the pandemic. The Boohoo website speaks about the steps taken to protect employees,  and mentions warehouse workers, but there is no information regarding your garment workers. Please stop trying to hide what is happening in your factories and take steps to fix the conditions your workers are having to endure, and the serious risks they are being forced to take.

You sell charity t-shirts donating money to the NHS, but are simultaneously putting lives at risk, adding further pressure on the NHS to save lives. You have also sold a social distancing t-shirt, despite the fact you have done nothing to ensure your garment workers can socially distance while making your clothes.

The recent news of payouts to senior members further emphasises the clear lack of regard for your workers. There is no reason why a worker should be paid £2-£3 pounds an hour, working in unsafe conditions, while the CEO receives a £1.04 million pay-out, as the company reports a 44% growth in the first quarter of this year.

I would like to know what you will be doing to ensure your workers are now protected and paid their wages during the pandemic, especially with Leicester now in lockdown.

Kind regards,

Boohoo MP email

Email addresses: [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected]

Find your MP here

Labour Behind the Label’s sample email here

Subject: Garment workers in Leicester factories subjected to unsafe working conditions during COVID-19 pandemic (something along these lines)

Hello. I am writing in regards to a recent report released by Labour Behind the  Label, highlighting the poor working conditions garment workers in Leicester have faced while making clothes for Boohoo, during the pandemic. Harrowing findings from the report include:

  • Workers pressured to continue working during lockdown, due to continued orders.
  • Workers sick with COVID pressured to continue working, or face losing their job.
  • Workers wishing to isolate denied pay.
  • Workers forced to work in factories with no social distancing, PPE, or sanitising stations, and little attempt by Boohoo to ensure compliance with COVID guidelines.
  • Factories pressured to continue production or even increase production, to keep up with new orders.
  • Furlough fraud by factory management, denying workers their pay.

It is very concerning to see that the government has taken very slow steps to address the ongoing exploitation of workers in the UK garment industry, despite the issue being repeatedly brought to its attention. In this current context, it is particularly shocking that the government and local authorities did nothing to ensure factories in Leicester were following government guidelines, with no spot inspections undertaken, and instead, reliance on companies and factories to self-regulate themselves. This inaction, alongside the government’s slow lockdown response and lack of regulation, has put workers at severe risk. Moreover, by continuing its cruel hostile environment policy, the government has  made it near impossible for the predominantly migrant labour force in the industry to speak out about their conditions, without fear of government backlash, due to their immigration status.

Ultimately, the government must recognise that the situation is not only the result of some unscrupulous suppliers, but is an inevitable outcome of the current fast fashion business model. Boohoo must be held accountable for their sourcing and purchasing practices, which incentivise and enable continued wage theft and unsafe working conditions. There must be regulation and severe consequences for brands who continue to depend on the systematic exploitation of its workers to make its profits.

There is no reason why a worker should be paid £2-£3 pounds an hour, working in unsafe conditions, while the CEO receives a £1.04m pay-out, sitting in the comfort of his own home.

I would like to know what you will be doing to ensure the following immediate demands from Labour Behind the Label are met:

  • All Boohoo sales and production must be suspended by the local authorities right away pending investigation into safety measures and reports of fraud at its supplier factories.
  • All workers affected – regardless of employment status should receive full pay while work is suspended.
  •  Boohoo’s purchasing practices and costing models must be scrutinised to assess if they enable suppliers to pay the minimum wage.
  • HSE inspections in Leicester garment factories must be undertaken to uncover unsafe working conditions. Indeed, the HSE must restart proactive inspections in all UK industries and occupations.
  • Leicester garment factories must be investigated immediately for wage theft, denial of benefits and modern slavery conditions – ensuring proper care and financial support is given to any victims of modern slavery.
  • The local authorities should create a special helpline in the city for workers with fast track furlough/full pay direct to workers.
  • The government should immediately suspend the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds” conditions on public health grounds for the duration of the outbreak, as recommended by the Work and Pensions Select Committee.
  • The UK government must ensure that there is mandatory regulation of safeguards for ensuring COVID-19 safety measures which include penalties for non-compliance.

Kind regards,